I hadn’t originally thought I would blog about the World Cup. But as I’ve spent a significant amount of time over the past month watching matches, talking about them with family, friends and colleagues, and yes, even tweeting about them, a blog post seemed appropriate. For those of you who may not follow it, the World Cup is a quadrennial event in the football (outside the U.S.) soccer (in the U.S.) world. The World Cup takes place over the period of a month with 32 teams from around the world who have already pre-qualified. It rotates to different parts of the world each time it takes place. This year it is being hosted by South Africa.
So what is it about the World Cup that sparks so much interest?
- First and foremost it’s a global event. Besides the Olympics, it’s the only truly global sporting event. The teams involved are from small and large countries, from all continents and all political persuasions.
- Like the Olympics it rotates around the world and with the great media focus we have an opportunity to learn about other cultures. This year in South Africa we have had insights into this country, from politics to public health to the vuvuzela, the horn that is blown at sporting events and has become a global sensation. And we can also learn about how different cultures relate to each other for example, “Who Should India Support?”
- It helps to hone our observation skills. One of my son’s favorite signs was “Sorry Bafana, Bafana, the Kiwis need us.” which might send you to find out that Bafana Bafana is the nickname for the South African team and some fans were supporting New Zealand who had many fewer fans in the stands.
- Because the World Cup is so global and has so much media attention, it can also be used to draw attention to many important global causes such as stars teaming up to promote the Millennium Development Goals.
- And of course, as my son, reminds me it’s all about a wonderful, elegant sport which is great fun to watch!
Have you been following? If so, what have you learned, observed or enjoyed?