Saturday, June 12, 2010

Enamored: 3 Reasons the World Cup has captured my heart

Yesterday kicked off the 2010 FIFA World Cup Tournament in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Since 1990 when I was first exposed to the World Cup, when the United States made its first appearance in 40 years - I have been enamored with this game and this tournament.

Blessed with the opportunity to work at the US Soccer Federation right out of college in 1993, I had the honor to work at the 1994 tournament we hosted here and my life has never been the same.

I never thought I could be so enamored with an inanimate "object" such as a futbol tournament.

But I am.

Each celebration.

The musicians I get to know such as Lira and K'naan.

The new interpretations of ones I already love, like Juanes. This year's theme song Waka Waka did not grab me until I saw Shakira perform it in South Africa on the World Cup Tournament "eve" concert.

The world stands still for me during matches.

I am overcome with chills watching the triumphs of winning teams and bombarded with sorrow watching the heartbreak of an effort that falls short.

It occurred to me yesterday why the fuss for me personally... it's the pure and simple ideology of the World Cup which I attempt to dissect below:

1. The World Cup is the ONLY tournament that starts with every nation and ends up with one true champion. The best is the best. Period.

2. Differences are appreciated and CELEBRATED. There is no shame in showcasing the colors, sounds and smells of nations near and far. The host country is on display for the world.

3. For one month, people across the globe are UNITED in support of this spectacle.

Four years ago, we watched matches from beach front cantinas in La Herradura Spain.

Four years from now, I hope to be in streets of Recife.

Enamored again, in person.

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