Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored

3Jul/100

Why I Love…and Hate Soccer: Thoughts from the World Cup 2010

I'm sure you've spent at least a couple hours this past month watching intently as the soccer matches of teams from around the world took place in South Africa. For the first time in history, the World Cup is widely available on TV and on the internet...and the world truly is watching.

The games are definitely filled with mixed emotions for me. There are so many excellent players and such great teamwork among the players that I find it thrilling to watch. In my opinion, soccer is the greatest sport out there: it requires an extreme amount of physical endurance to play nonstop for 1.5-2 hours, it demands that people communicate and interact as a team on the fly (rather than being dependent upon direction from coaches every 5 minutes), and grips the attention and devotion of people all across the world like no other sport.

Unfortunately, it also places a lot of authority on the fallible and limited perspective of 3 referees, who are often dishonest, blind, or deceived without any chance of their being a challenge to their decisions...and it reveals the extreme lengths of cheating and dishonesty that players will go to in order to get a call in their team's favor. No example is more vivid than the most recent game with Ghana and Uruguay, where the Uruguay player used his hand to knock the game-winning goal for Ghana out of the game, causing Uruguay to win. It's an illegal move: something I would consider far below a player's character...and yet we've seen plenty of character revealing plays in the last few weeks, as teams will do anything to win.

Well, what can I say? I'll keep watching. I don't hate it enough to ignore it. Teamwork, endurance, and skill are too amazing not to watch. I just hope that in my life and in my ministry, I continue to get to work in teams that are as good as these World Cup competitors. Success is a team effort: in my life and in the World Cup. I'm grateful for the teams I have had in my life already: a loving family, an amazing church, great schools, great neighbors, and unbelievable friends.

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