ROY — World Cup fever is certainly running high all over the planet these days.
And it's running pretty high in one particular household of this northern Utah community, too, especially after the tense finish of Saturday's match between Brazil and Chile.
"Oh my heck, that was close," Brazilian native Adriana Volk said with a sigh of relief after her home country pulled out a dramatic shootout victory by slipping past Chile on penalty kicks, 3-2, after the Round of 16 World Cup showdown ended in a 1-1 deadlock at the end of regulation.
"I was screaming so loud inside this house. If the neighbors heard me, they were probably wondering what Matthew was doing to that poor Brazilian girl."
"Matthew" would be her husband, Matthew Volk, a Utah native who graduated from Clearfield High in 1986 and served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Curitiba, Brazil, from 1987-89.
"I always tell people that he liked Brazil so much he brought home a souvenir," said Adriana, who grew up in the city of Maringa, where she met her future husband in 1988. They were married in 1991 in the Salt Lake Temple and have resided in Utah for the last 23 years.
For the sake of full disclosure, the Volks are my friends and neighbors in Roy, where they have lived for more than 21 years and have raised three darling children — Mason, Ariadanee and Bronson.
Indeed, better people, and a better family, you will not ever meet.
What's more, their oldest son, Mason, 20, has followed in his father's footsteps and is currently serving an LDS mission in Manaus, Brazil. That's located in the Amazon, and it's also where the United States team played its Sunday match against Portugal. Mason's mission office is just a couple of blocks away from the stadium where the U.S. played Portugal to a frustrating 2-2 tie.
"He's amazed at how hard they've tried to spruce the place up and make the world feel welcome there," Matthew said of a recent email he received from Mason regarding Brazil's all-out efforts to do a first-class job of hosting the world's biggest sporting spectacle.
So it's easy to see why the Volk family has been stricken with World Cup fever this year.
And as we cleaned our church building Saturday morning and finished up around 9:20, Matthew and Adriana said they needed to get home by 10 a.m. to watch Saturday's match between Brazil and its South American neighbor, Chile.
Brazil wound up winning the match when, on the final penalty kick of the shootout, Chile's Gonzalo Jara drilled his attempt off the right post to keep Brazil's dream alive of winning a World Cup title on its home soil.
And keep Adriana Volk shouting for joy.
"Oh my gosh, she's such a quiet lady unless you go to sporting events and she's watching her kids play or her home country play," Matthew said. "She was quite loud. She'd get mad and yell at 'em when they had chances to score and couldn't knock one in.
"To be honest with you, it reminded me of the championship game that Real Salt Lake was in last December (which RSL lost in a similar, intense shootout)."
Adriana admitted that she got caught up in all the excitement of a World Cup shootout involving her home country.
"When it's Brazil playing, I get a little bit 'loca' (that's Portuguese for crazy)," she said. "I'm really only a soccer fan during the World Cup.
"I kept saying, 'Come on, Brazil, you can do it.' And Matthew said, 'Maybe they're not doing good because you're speaking English to them and they don't understand you.' So I started cheering them on in Portuguese and look what happened — they won.
"I have many, many Brazilian friends in Salt Lake City and elsewhere who are partying right now because Brazil won," she said. "I'm happy and proud that they won. It's kinda cool."
Matthew, who grew up in Syracuse, Utah, works for Conway Freight in Salt Lake City and comes from a family of golfers. His dad, Wayne Volk, was the longtime head professional at the Hill Air Force Base golf course, where he worked a total of 42 years.
And Matthew's brother, pro golfer Dustin Volk, recently qualified to play in the PGA Championship in August.
Adriana, meanwhile, returned to her homeland in early February when her mother, Izaura Oliveira, suddenly became gravely ill and eventually passed away on Feb. 13. Adriana remained there with family members for a few weeks before returning "home" to Roy in early March.
She and Matthew were careful to maintain precise political correctness when I posed this question to them:
If Brazil and the United States were to face each other in the World Cup, who would you root for?
"It's kinda hard to say because I haven't followed them a whole lot," Matthew said, leaning ever so slightly in Brazil's favor. "But maybe this time, I'd have to pull a little bit more for the home team.Comment on this story
"But I'd just like it to be a good game, and I'd be happy either way. It would be fun to watch the fandemonium that would happen if Brazil won. When they won today and it showed the crowd erupt, it gave you chills. It made me wish I was in Rio."
And as for Adriana?
"Both," she said, refusing to pick which team she'd like to see win. "I know, I know, a lot of people say that's weird. But if Brazil scores, I'll cheer for them, and if the U.S. scores, I'll cheer for them, too.
"I believe we need to have love at home. And either way, I can't lose."
After all, when it comes to World Cup fever, there's no better way to cure it than that.