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Ray Duckler

Ray Duckler: A family affair, exciting at the start, fades to sadness

  • The extended family of Pedro and Kelly Godoi--far right on the couch and on the floor--react to a non-call of a foul during the blowout World Cup in the first half while watching at their home in Loudon. Ronaldo Cabraz, 12, yells in front as the rest of the family show a collection of reactions as a Brazilian play was knocked down and there was no-call.<br/> Godoi is the owner of the Red Blazer in Concord. <br/><br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff)

    The extended family of Pedro and Kelly Godoi--far right on the couch and on the floor--react to a non-call of a foul during the blowout World Cup in the first half while watching at their home in Loudon. Ronaldo Cabraz, 12, yells in front as the rest of the family show a collection of reactions as a Brazilian play was knocked down and there was no-call.
    Godoi is the owner of the Red Blazer in Concord.


    (GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff)

  • The extended family of Pedro and Kelly Godoi, far right and on couch, react to the first German goal during the blowout while watching at their home in Loudon. Godoi is the owner of the Red Blazer in Concord. <br/><br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff)<br/><br/><br/><br/><br/>

    The extended family of Pedro and Kelly Godoi, far right and on couch, react to the first German goal during the blowout while watching at their home in Loudon. Godoi is the owner of the Red Blazer in Concord.


    (GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff)




  • Pedro and Kelly Godoi react to the World Cup game with their 13-yr-old Joao during the first half of the blowout semi-final at their home <br/><br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff)

    Pedro and Kelly Godoi react to the World Cup game with their 13-yr-old Joao during the first half of the blowout semi-final at their home


    (GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff)

  • The extended family of Pedro and Kelly Godoi--far right on the couch and on the floor--react to a non-call of a foul during the blowout World Cup in the first half while watching at their home in Loudon. Ronaldo Cabraz, 12, yells in front as the rest of the family show a collection of reactions as a Brazilian play was knocked down and there was no-call.<br/> Godoi is the owner of the Red Blazer in Concord. <br/><br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff)
  • The extended family of Pedro and Kelly Godoi, far right and on couch, react to the first German goal during the blowout while watching at their home in Loudon. Godoi is the owner of the Red Blazer in Concord. <br/><br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff)<br/><br/><br/><br/><br/>
  • Pedro and Kelly Godoi react to the World Cup game with their 13-yr-old Joao during the first half of the blowout semi-final at their home <br/><br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff)

At 3-0, Pedro Godoi, born and raised in Brazil, got off the couch, dragged aside the screen door and disappeared outside.

At 6-0, Pedro’s 13-year-old son, Joao, pulled aside the other screen door, across the living room, and disappeared, too.

Neither father nor son could watch the unthinkable, the unimaginable, a 7-1 loss to Germany in the World Cup semifinals.

“I don’t want you to write anything,” said Pedro’s wife, Kelly, only half-joking. “I’m so sad.”

The Godoi family lives in Loudon. Other family members, many Brazilian born, live in and around Concord. This column, we hoped, would be a snapshot of their joy, created by Brazil’s victory in a World Cup game.

Okay, you can’t win them all. Everyone knows that, including Brazilian soccer fans, but this?

Losing by six goals? Allowing five goals in an 18-minute span? In front of their home fans?

Who were those guys in yellow? Certainly no one Pedro and his family recognized. Certainly not the nation once represented by Pele, the most recognized name in soccer history. Surely not the team with five World Cup titles, more than any country ever.

“Every Brazilian coach who loses in the World Cup gets fired,” said Pedro, who owns the Red Blazer Restaurant. “But this is the darkest day in Brazilian soccer history. We haven’t lost a competitive game at home in 50 years.”

Actually, it’s been about 40, but who’s counting?

No one could have predicted this, the dismantling of a soccer power. The day before the game, on Monday, Pedro welcomed me into his home, a universe of strong family bonds, farm animals – chickens, pigs, cows, lambs – out back that provide their food, and soccer, soccer and more soccer.

Excitement was in the air. As Pedro said that day, “You can combine three sports here like baseball, football and hockey, and they don’t compare to the passion in Brazil for soccer. We’re always expected to be the No. 1 team, so when we lose, it’s always a big thing.”

The proof was everywhere.

Out back, the grassy field was level, after the topsoil had been removed, screened to smooth its texture, then put back, the beginning of the soccer field that should be ready in a month.

Meanwhile, Joao and his brother, 9-year-old Lucas, with help from their cousins, Dillon and Daniel Arrant of Penacook, have picked weeds off the grass, trying to move the project along.

On the other side of the house, a smaller patch of grass served as a temporary soccer field. The kids used it before World Cup games and at halftime, peppering the back of the net like Neymar and Thiago Silva and Luiz Gustavo, their World Cup heroes.

Lucas’s first word was “futebol,” and everyone in the family plays competitive soccer. Kelly, who’s 34, plays in a women’s league and a coed league. Her fingernails were painted green, which, along with yellow and blue, are the colors of the Brazilian flag.

She vowed to get a tattoo, a green and yellow butterfly on a yet-to-be-determined portion of her body if Brazil won the championship.

Pedro vowed not to shave until Brazil lost, so his beard was thick. He vowed not to wash his No. 10 jersey, the one with “Pele” on the back, so his jersey was dirty.

Last Friday, more than 40 people gathered for short ribs and Brazil’s quarterfinal game against Colombia.

This time, though, guests were limited to immediate family only, so the focus would be on the game and nothing else.

Their faces were painted yellow, green and blue, some family members with stripes, others sporting the Brazilian flag. Before the game, they stood, placed their hands on their hearts and sang the Brazilian national anthem.

They wondered how their team would fare, minus two of its stars. Neymar, their top scorer, wouldn’t play because of a fractured vertebra, suffered in the quarterfinals. Thiago Silva, the captain, wouldn’t play because of a yellow-card suspension.

“Pele was injured in 1962 and Brazil still won the World Cup,” Joao said optimistically, like any 13-year-old kid relaying information about David Ortiz and the Red Sox.

So, at 4 sharp, time stopped for this family. Pedro, usually smiling, always affable, said nothing in the minutes leading up to the game. He rubbed his beard, rubbed his hair and stared at the floor.

Kelly clasped her hands in front of her face, lightly touching her lips. Family members named Maria and Karen and Ronaldo and Chi Chi and Leila and Katia and Joao and Grim and Olivia and Dillon and Daniel, all with deep Brazilian roots and Brazilian allegiance, all with vast knowledge of soccer and the importance the sport holds for the country, settled in on the couches and the floor.

Then Germany scored and scored and scored again, building a 5-0 lead by halftime, and soon Pedro was sliding the screen door and walking outside, and Kelly was sitting on the couch, crying.

In the second half, Joao and his cousins Dillon, 13, and Ronaldo, 12, moved to the backyard to kick soccer balls into the goal, something their favorite team couldn’t prevent the Germans from doing.

“I can’t take it anymore,” Dillon said.

By 6, Brazil had been eliminated from the World Cup, in an outcome no one in the world could have predicted.

Pedro, on his deck out back, answered his cell phone. “I don’t know what happened,” he told the caller. “I’m so sad right now.”

(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304 or rduckler@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @rayduckler.)

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