July 10, 2006

World Cup Moves On

The World Cup for football (soccer in the U.S.) came to its completion today with Italy winning. This has been a month of wonderful games and drama. The World Cup seems to always grow in interest to me with each one. This year I was in Europe (Innsbruck, Austria and Amsterdam, Netherlands) for the first few days of the World Cup, being hosted in Germany. It was fantastic to be in countries that get and care about football and World Cup.

It always seems that the World Cup is more of a uniting event than the Olympics. Yes, more people Watch the World Cup. In the U.S. more people went to the World Cup home page this past week than the Major League Baseball homepage. There is more deep passion and country essence displayed in and at the World Cup than any other sporting event, or make that any other event.

I was able to watch more full games than any year prior and it made it quite enjoyable. I think 1990 was the first year I watched on satellite in an Irish Bar in the Haight Ashbury. I have been hooked since.

The more I get into the World Cup the more I see the U.S. out of touch with the world and rather parochial. I know more and more in the U.S. are watching the games, which I think is a great step forward. Football is a team sport like no other as the culture is portrayed on the field and in the stands. There is strategy, teamwork, and beauty that evokes passion and pride. There is pride emanating from the Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Australia that put them on the same level as some of the powerhouse football countries. That seems like a healthy pride.

It was nice to see Germany be a great host and find it okay to be proud of a national team. It was nice to hear Germany television reporting enthusiastically about sports, well something other than Dirk Nowitzki. It seems like the fans this World Cup were rather well behaved, which is a very good sign as well.

I am going to miss World Cup, but the world still seems smaller and much more cohesive than it did a month ago. The world is made up on one people and this wee planet we call home and most of us enjoy a good game of football.

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