Sunday, June 04, 2006

Why I Love Football

No, I'm not talking about our inappropriately named American "football" (where only lowly kickers dare to touch the ball with their feet), but the real football, the "beautiful game", the celebration of which is geared up to begin in a little less than a week at the FIFA 2006 World Cup, the tournament which is quite simply, the greatest sporting event in the world. In anticipation of the tournament the NY Times has a special section on the World Cup in today's edition. One article talks about the American team, what it means to play "American" football, and what Bruce Arena has done for the team over the last 8 years (namely, turned them into the 5th ranked soccer power in the world, an incredible achievement.) Another talks about those masters of football, the Brazilians, who grow incredible soccer players in their country like we grow wheat here in ours. And another sums up the strenghts and weaknesses of those countries who have some chance of contending for the championship (though we shouldn't delude ourselves...Brazil will almost certainly win it all yet again.)

For me, the World Cup is the only sporting event which seems to transcend sport itself. It has nothing to do with the competition bringing "peace" or "harmony" or anything like that (though it does do that)'s simply that it's so big, with so many people eating and breathing football everyday for over a month, that it somehow becomes a historical event/holiday/celebration all wrapped up in one. It's like Christmas day, where everything stops dead for a day, only it happens everywhere, all over the world, for a month. That it happens once only every four years makes it even more special; Christmas, the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, etc., all come once a year, but four years is long enough to allow you to invest some time and emotion in the current World Cup tournament. After all, who knows where you-or any of us-will be in four more years?

And quite simply, I love football. I love it because it is the beautiful game, a game that at it's best can be of such stunning elegance and beauty that it's as if you're no longer watching a rough and tumble sport, but dance. And the greatest goals(or stops)are plays of such power and athelticism that one can only marvel that humans are even capable of such feats.

So here it comes. It'll be gone before we know it, and yet it can't get here soon enough.


Nat-Wu said...

USA all the way! (Well, I'll be happy if they make it past the first round).

Atlantic Review said...

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