Hello, readers, and greetings from the 2018 World Cup! Our family has been saving and planning this vacation for five years now and we are ecstatic. We have tickets to two games and are hoping to obtain tickets to a third while we are in Russia. We arrived yesterday (June 25) in Moscow, and we are recovering from some jetlag before we attend our first game today (France v. Denmark)!
In the last month, some friends and acquaintances have asked why we would dedicate the time and money to go to Russia and attend the World Cup, especially if the United States did not qualify this time (I am still embarrassed about that to be honest!). Others have wondered why I occasionally write about sports in this blog that normally is dedicated to missions, leadership, etc. The futbol (soccer) fans who read this understand completely, so I do not need to persuade you all. But to the others, here are the reasons the World Cup is so important to me, and why we have written about it in this blog for three straight cycles (2010, 2014, and 2018):
- Culture – and cultures – fascinate me. While in the London airport we were with people from seven different countries all going to the World Cup. We all look different, speak different languages, and have different customs for sure. But there is a respect – and even appreciation – for differences here that can prove instructive in a world of so much ethnocentrism. How can we learn from each other? How do these other people enrich my life and understanding?
- Passion, passion, passion. A life without passion is a sad existence! I confess that I have a hard time comprehending how people can float through life without urgency or excitement. And admit it: the World Cup is THE place to find fans and players and coaches that are crazy about futbol and their country! Did you see the Brazilian coach who celebrated so hard that he tripped all over himself after a late goal against Costa Rica? Or what about the Panamanians celebrating their first-ever goal in the World Cup, even when they lost the game 6-1? Did you know that Mexico’s goal against Germany arguably caused an earthquake in Mexico City due to the euphoria in that mega-city? Yeah, passion.
- Sports can be a microcosm of life. Sports are results-based. If you succeed, you are rewarded; if you underachieve, there are consequences. This is not to say that the most talented team always wins; sometimes the most well-prepared underdogs can pull off some stunners (See: Iceland v. Argentina). But even that gives us a lesson. There are so many things I have learned from sports about teamwork, perseverance, leadership, and integrity. The World Cup will bring out the best and the worst in many players and fans and coaches. It puts a magnifying glass on our character.
Those are just three of the many reasons that I write about sports and the World Cup in a blog that hopes to help Transform the Globe. I could go on and on, but it is now time for me to head to the stadium – who knows what cool things we will experience there and in the next week!