The World Cup, like the Olympics, is another example of how peace is possible for human beings. Sure, they're also huge opportunities to make money and promote multi million dollar athletes who hardly need more promotion, but there are huge positive aspects of this month long tournament that comes around every 4 years and they're not just for soccer. They're for everyone.
On the one hand, it inspires. Soccer is one of those democratic sports where almost anyone can get involved, as long as they have a ball, some shoes and a few friends. It gives people dreams and teaches them about practice, discipline, hard work and athleticism. On the other hand, it brings people together to enjoy the spirit of competition, leaving aside bad feelings, history and bias for at least a brief period of time.
Bringing people together to enjoy the beautiful game is part of what makes it beautiful. It's great to see countries come together for something which isn't a crisis. The joy of the game and the pride of the nation really come out, and soccer riots aside, it's a healthy expression of those feelings. It's great to see people cheering, dancing, chanting and rocking out stadiums. You know how people always talk about how people only get together for weddings and funerals? We only ever mourn or celebrate together when it matters and celebrating is always better.
It's a shame for us Canadians that we aren't represented in the World Cup because of our poor showing in the sport. At least our grass will be in South Africa. And we'll cheer on our favourites, either because they're our ancestors off the boat or because of international superstars who we love to look at. And like we needed another excuse to grab a beer and celebrate?
England and Spain are heavy favourites going into this World Cup. Italy will be defending its title, but even though they should cruise through their group, there's no promise that they'll make it much farther than that. There may yet be some spoilers as well in this tournament, with Cote d'Ivoire getting its star player back, Greece may have another miracle in them and it would be mauvais to count out the French.
Now if we could just all learn the Diksi dance in time...