World Cup Feelings – Really Global Ones
By Fábio Fernandes
By the time you read this, it’s quite probable that the World Cup has already come to an end. Brazil, alas, is already out of the game, but that happens. What’s really important is that the FIFA World Cup has managed to do something extraordinary, and for decades now: to unite most of the world around a major event.
Note that I said most of the world. Not every country is crazy about soccer – or football, as it is called in Europe, or simply futebol, as I call it in Portuguese. (From now on, I will refer to it as football, because that is how this sport is referred to in the countries that really care about it.)
Not that the countries that don’t care about football should be covered in tar and feathers – I just feel sorry for them, because they miss all the fun! The emotion, the sheer energy of the players in the field running after the ball is something unique – everyone should go to a stadium at least once in their lifetimes to experience it.
(But, hey!, some of you will promptly say to me. The same applies to baseball, for example. What about the thrill of the game, all the fastballs, home runs, and whatnot. I won’t argue with that. I’m sure it’s awesome as well.)
Some people I follow on Twitter, most notably people from the US, simply can’t understand some key notions of the game, like the tie. For them, no match should end with both teams failing to score a goal, or – even worse – scoring the same amount of goals each (perish the thought!)
Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but certainly it’s not something you are born with. It’s more like an acquired taste. Or love at first sight. It may happen for both sports, and it does. Country notwithstanding.
Recently, Glenn Beck (for those of you who don’t know him – I, for one, didn’t before the World Cup began – he is the utterly conservative host of a news show in Fox News TV channel in the US) said that he hates “soccer”, and, guess what? Because it’s global!
(Years ago, I believe I already established that America is a concept that goes far beyond the borders of the country called United States, encompassing no less than three continental landmasses, North, Central, and South America, so I won’t tackle the subject again here – please refer to this guest post in Jeff VanderMeer’s blog.)
As for Beck, I take the liberty of quoting him from another site, Media Matters for America:
BECK: I don’t get the baseball thing, but the soccer thing, I hate it so much — probably because the rest of the world likes it so much, and they riot over it, and they continually try to jam it down our throat.”
It appears that Beck is not alone on this, and thinks that soccer is part of a kind of socialist conspiracy against America of something like that.
I’m not trying to reasoning with those arguments. I just wanted to say a thing or two.
First, going back to baseball, I’m truly sorry, but you can’t possibly call World Series a championship series comprising only one or two countries. If only Japan, Cuba (yeah, I know I’m dreaming), or even Brazil (we have baseball here too, but we’re less proficient in it than the US in soccer – for now, that is) were also on it, then the American professional baseball World Series would really be global. But then, according to Glenn Beck, it could be dangerous.
Second, and that maybe will strike you as a curiosity: in Portuguese, we often use the word socialize as a verb, but not with a political meaning. We just happen to use it sometimes when talking about sharing stuff with our friends. (For instance, let’s socialize this book, shall we? Or, let’s socialize the bottle, when you’re in a bar – you got it).
Does that sound odd to you? Maybe it does. What the hell, Brazil is a different country, so it should sound odd to you after all.
I don’t even know if this rarticle (part rant, part article) will be published, because it apparently doesn’t have anything to do with science fiction. But that’s just on the surface. Since we’re having a global conversation here, those were just some thoughts I thought I should share with you all. Or socialize.