June 17, 2006

World Cup Celebration

It is that time in life's cycle where I get a wee bit distracted. It is time for World Cup. I had the wonderful fortune to be in Europe as World Cup started, but being in Amsterdam as het Oranje played was quite special. I managed to hang out with Peter at his workplace and watched. It was amazing how Amsterdam became silent then roared when the Dutch scored.

I was staying in a nice little hotel, ACH Leidse Square, near the Vondel Park and not far from Leidseplein. This made it easy to walk through one of the central location for people to aggregate during football matches, the Leidseplein. From about five blocks away I could hear the roar as a goal was scored from nearly any team. The Leidseplein was awash in many block colors of people's home or favorite national team. This is not something that the USA really gets. Football is an international sport with more viewers for the World Cup than 12 Super Bowls. World Cup connects the world and cultures, probably more closely than the Olympics. It is a pageant of color and passion for national and regional pride. There is beauty in the game of motion and dance. It is a game where size and power is not essential, but skill and cunning can level a playing field. It is a game of teams and working together.

The USA has a team in the World Cup, but it is seemingly lost on many who live in the country.

Since the 1980s I have grown to enjoy World Cup more and more. In 1998 many work meetings seemed to fall in mid-afternoon lunches at tapas restaurant bars in Washington, DC as our work was with Europeans and Latin American clients. A little wine and espresso wrapped discussions about strategy and assents of telecom markets with clients. But the main focus was the game with work interspersed. If the client's national team was doing well the work went well as they had a positive feeling about the meeting, but if their team was not doing well they focussed a little more on the meeting and a lot got done.

This summer I have the ability to catch a few games around work and share it with our international neighbors. We all wear our colors of pride and our kids learn about passion, color, dance, and sports of beauty.

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