COLUMBIA — Alejandro Chavez was born in-between two of Mexico's games during the 1994 World Cup.
His father, Oscar Chavez, brought him a miniature soccer ball at the hospital, and the first thing Alejandro ever watched on TV was the World Cup.
Oscar Chavez doesn't consider himself to be a big soccer fan, but every four years he and his family make an effort to watch the World Cup.
Alejandro and his family gathered at the Ragtag Cinema on Hitt Street on Friday morning to watch the opening game of the World Cup — South Africa vs. Mexico. The whole family sported Mexico jerseys, and they sat with a Mexican flag draped across their laps.
"It's a beautiful sport," Alejandro said. "It seems to have more of an art."
"You get to see very beautiful moments," his father said. "It's not very often, but when you get to see one, it's worth the whole game."
The Ragtag is showing several of the World Cup games for free. About 45 people gathered to watch the first game, which ended in a 1-1 tie.
"I think it's something we're all interested in," Tony Layson, a Ragtag employee, said. "Football can be just as theatrical as movies sometimes."
"Mainly, I think it's because we all love soccer and wanted a way to watch it on a big TV," he said.
David Murangwa came to the Ragtag to see the game on a big screen and for a chance to watch the game in a larger group because, he said, it adds to the excitement.
"I enjoy the World Cup — couldn't miss it," Murangwa said.
Murangwa likes the World Cup because it's, "not like any other series."
Murangwa compared it to baseball, where the World Series is between mostly American teams and a few Canadian teams. The World Cup, however, includes teams from 32 different countries.
"The whole world is watching," Murangwa said.
Chinonye Echebiri wanted to watch the game with other people who enjoy soccer because it's her favorite sport.
"It's very exciting to watch. The pace, the size of the field, the constant motion," she said.
While she rooted for South Africa, it wasn't the team that was important to her.
"I don't really care who wins, " she said. "I'm just here for the entertainment."
While soccer might not have the following in the United States that it has in other countries, there are still plenty of people who are excited about watching the games.
Paul Tatum, who grew up playing soccer, attended both the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and the 1994 World Cup in the United States.
"Being there is is something you have to experience," he said. "It was one of the highlights of my life."
Tatum supported Mexico today, but is hoping for a United States win.
"I'm waiting for the U.S. to win a World Cup so I can die happy. If the stars align, maybe in my lifetime," Tatum said.
The Ragtag will be showing the U.K. vs. U.S. game, which starts at 1:30 on Saturday.
Alejandro said there's no sport he likes more than soccer. He enjoys playing soccer for fun. When his family hosted an exchange student from Ecuador for three months this past school year, they would play soccer nearly every weekend.
"Right now I'm definitely in the mood for soccer," Alejandro said.