Me, Soccer and the World
In every sporting event, one can invariably find a player, a team, a nation, poised to become the next memorable story. This is a story that will survive the test of time and go down in history. The FIFA World Cup is unique, in that, every country can qualify. Have you ever heard of Monaco? I am sure you have heard of England. These are just two of many of the small land pieces spread across a globe that our world has now come to know as Earth. It is the only tournament that can unite the world with its common passion for the sport. It doesn’t matter if you are living in a poverty stricken village or a city where there are endless masses of humans. It is a tournament where everyone celebrates, dances, and rejoices in the streets of their capitals, exulting in the spectacular feats of their players, their teams and their nation.
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What makes the World cup extraordinary is the national pride that many countries seem to embrace openly. Winning or losing isn’t all the glory. Since the first tentative World Cup in Uruguay in 1930, World Cup history was not only about the winner or winning the title, but about all the stories experienced by many and heard as a “shot around the world” by others. World Cup history resonates with the past stories that to this day echo through time. Numerous stories of players, teams and nations that surprised the world by achieving the unexpected are witnessed. From the poignant moments of the ecstatic underdogs and the worlds Cinderella teams, to the birth of legends and the excellence of today’s modern football giants. This game we American’s call soccer, where it is futbol to every other single country known to man, brings joy to every nation.
If past World Cups are any indication, somebody will commit suicide when his team is eliminated next month. It happens every four years. Some Americans wonder why, but it’s very simple: With soccer, the most desperate kids from Sudan share the same passion as affluent kids in the United States. This past summer, the United States, in a remarkable fashion, went through to the final sixteen of the 2010 World Cup. At a 0-0 draw, with 90 minutes of time flown by and the end of injury time on the horizon, the United States scored in the 92nd minute to win the group and make it to the final 16 of the world. The fans went crazy and many were crying. I was crying.
Why am I telling you this? Well this moment in U.S soccer sparked a nationwide interest in the game in which the number of U.S soccer fans rose dramatically. This includes me to where I fell into the game’s deep field of passion and started to play myself. Without playing for 9 years, I tried out for a travel team and made it. This was an incredible boost to my self-confidence and it opened a new heart inside me that I will never let go. This simple moment in the World Cup led me to fall once again in love with the long forgotten sport waiting to burst out of me and it created confidence in everything I now do in everyday life.
When I was little, I had a dream of being a surgeon. At about 10 years old, I wanted to become a race car driver. I turned seventeen this past summer as the world cup came to a close. Now I want to be a soccer player. This dream will not change and it will not die. “I’ve never wanted to leave. I’m here for the rest of my life, and hopefully after that as well. It’s why we play the game. Anything is possible, anything can happen, and we proved that again tonight.” This quote from a player after the thriller of a 1-0 by the United States team win inspired me. I never want to leave a soccer field anymore; I will play with a 2 year old or a 50 year old. I don’t care if I have to travel to Austrailia to play soccer or I can play in my backyard. This passion defines me as a teenager now. A passion that I never thought would express everything that I am and want to me. And I can reassure you that anything is possible. Can anything can happen? You bet it can and I hope that I am not the only one that has this type of optimism. I am saying this because many people are pessimistic about anything and everything.
Optimism is a beauty, having a positive attitude is being smart. And this is what amazes me. Through all the riots, deaths, wins, losses, corruption, and glory, there is only one thing that unites the world. This brief uniting is every 4 years and doesn’t last very long. Enjoy it while it lasts. It unites everyone from the United States, to Africa, through Europe to Asia. Through this re-uniting every 4 years, there comes optimism and cheers of national pride surrounding us. It gave me inspiration, passion, a dream.
It’s not about politics, religion, the economy. It’s not about history, trade, oil, gas rights, animal rights or mineral rights. It isn’t about global warming, globalization, elections, NATO or GDP. It’s not about he she said, my land-your land, love or hate. It’s not about hope or change, the stock market. It is not about communism, socialism, or capitalism. This is about the 1 month, every 4 years where we all agree on ONE thing: 32 nations, 1 world watching, the FIFA World Cup.