The World Cup just closed and our family finds ourselves already counting the days until the next Cup four years from now.
This surprises nobody more than me. The only sports our family watches are those where a child is playing and the rest of us are in the stands. The last real sporting events I followed were the Winter Olympics—in 1994! Then, along came the World Cup and suddenly our family and work rhythms revolved around the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) schedule. Each match found us home, collected around the match, amidst cheering and tears, animated talking and shocked silence.
I’ve thought about why the World Cup so touched me. Some of the reasons are global, some intensely private, and some continue in a realm of the mysterious that I don’t entirely understand and perhaps that is what is so intriguing.
What I do know is that I fell in love with the fans from around the world, collected in the Maracanã Stadium, collecting around televisions in their home countries, collecting in homes and in the streets to cheer their teams. I loved the colors, the flags, the unbridled enthusiasm, the sheer heart palpating throughout the world.
I fell in love with this moment after the epic Brazil-Colombia match when Colombian player James Rodríguez broke down and Brazilians David Luiz and Dani Alvez comforted him and encouraged the legions of Brazilian fans to applaud as they walked off the field together.
From across the world, friends new and old connected on the day’s match, each cheering our team. A friend from the Netherlands, Marjolijn, and I who haven’t seen each other in years “watched” the matches together across the sea, commenting back and forth. Friends from England, Argentina, France, the Netherlands, Mexico, Costa Rica, and many other countries gathered virtually to talk about the matches, in whatever language best fit. It was a delight!
The Signature of All Things author Elizabeth Gilbert followed FIFA and tweeted, creating a community of literary soccer fans from across the world. This tweet highlights another reason why I loved the World Cup, the mass of cultures and languages in all of their uniqueness:
He’s truly puzzled.
I’m trying to explain Northern Europe to him.
I loved imagining all of the languages swirling within the stadium and talking about FIFA around the world. Noé and I spent as much time trying to read the lips of the referees and players, as we did watching the games. Close-ups between Spanish-speaking countries revealed language best described as highly colorful!
So, yes, I fell in love with all of the above.
At the heart of all, and my true love with FIFA, took place right in our own home. Luke loves soccer and loves the World Cup. For the past weeks, our lives have braided together around a mutual passion, a rare gift with a 16-year-old son.
Every day, we spoke of the day’s matches, watched the players on Youtube, and shared our thoughts on what might happen. During the matches, we came together and cheered or groaned. We watched all in Spanish, so the matches were filled with Luke asking questions for clarification and Noé or I interpreting the commentators. No matter what else was happening in our days, all of that ceased to exist during each match of the World Cup. In that moment, we were caught up in the team, the country, the players, their dreams and losses, and our time together.
For this brief span of time in our complex lives, we gathered together in a common world. A gift.
* * *
To subscribe and receive Dewdrops in your email, please enter your email address in the box under “Follow this blog via email” or click on the ‘Follow’ icon in lower right-hand corner of the blog’s screen and ‘Confirm Follow’ in the email you receive. To return to website: http://www.dawnwink.com