Inspirations

World Cup

The World Cup is on and for an entire month I am left wondering, will I get anything else done? It is comforting to know that much of the world feels the same, from Cameroon to Canada and from Senegal to Switzerland. The global passion– read fanaticism– for the game of football is bamboozling to some. To the uninitiated, a football match is downright boring—why watch a game where the ball goes back and forth between players and goals are hardly ever scored? Spain set a record in a match, making 1,058 passes in its game against Japan (who made only 228) but lost 2-1. Why does the sport evoke such emotion where team supporters donning their country colors rant and rave, riddled with the dread of losing while clinging to the dying hope of sudden transcendence? The passion for football is so visceral because it no doubt mirrors the trials and tribulations of life itself. To start with, the game requires endless pursuits that lead nowhere. Players make long runs through the midfield into the opponents’ half only to lose the ball in anguish. Is it not like our daily rush through appointments, under constant pressure to send, receive and deliver? Have you not had the feeling of go, go, go with nothing to show for it in the end? After a long sprint with the ball at their feet, soccer players collapse to the ground, writhing in pain (sometimes real, sometimes imagined) riddled with exhaustion. How many times do we generate our own kind of attack, working on a project or plan, only to feel like a wreck at the end? And like in life where time is always ticking, in the game of football the clock never stops. Players run their hearts in a contest that can be won or lost by one quick header or blast outside the box. If and when a goal is scored, it feels like magic, like divine intervention, like instant salvation. No wonder that most of humanity is gathered around the tele for the World Cup, hanging on every free kick, every long ball, every give and go, like our life depends on it.

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