OK folks, time for me to get on my soapbox here. Let’s talk about the World Cup; I know, we already have in previous posts, but this time, I want to talk about something more than just the facts of each match. I want to talk about what this spectacle means for us as people.
It is easy to just dismiss the World Cup based on the near-daily headlines about FIFA corruption, Brazilian protests, and general mismanagement by both FIFA and the Brazilian government, but the World Cup is so much more than that.
To be clear, I am just as appalled by FIFA’s corruption and the gross mismanagement on the part of the government of Brazil as all of you are; but for the sake of argument, let’s look past all that and concentrate on the essence of the World Cup as a spectacle.
Unlike more regionally focused events as the World Series and Super Bowl, the World Cup is an opportunity for us, as people, to interact with the world in a constructive way; for everybody to briefly put aside their grievances and sit down to watch one of the greatest sports on the world’s largest stage.
It allows us to be reminded that despite differences in culture, borders, laws, or language, at the end of the day we are all average people. We all just want to sit down, and have a good time with those around us, be it friends, family, or the folks you meet at stadiums and in pubs.
The World Cup gives us an excuse to do this on a global level. Yes, it can increase pride in your own nation, but it also gives you a chance to appreciate the talents of other nations. Just because you root for the U.S., doesn’t mean that you can’t have a good time watching Argentina play.
The World Cup venues are some of the few places in the world where people from all over are more than happy to interact with each other, and are willing to experience a sample of each other’s culture through the language of sports.
The positive interactions provided by the World Cup, as a result, become invaluable parts of promoting understanding and tolerance. Will there be some jerks in attendance that refuse to play nice? Yes, but they are outnumbered by the sheer volume of people willing to be positive, and who want to feel like a part of a truly global community.