World Cup, world comradery

By Nick Waln Source:Global Times Published: 2018/7/12 16:58:39

As an American, I never got into the World Cup. Soccer has never been the most popular sport in the US. Although I played it for years when I was younger, it never stayed with me as something I would follow.

However, since I began to live both in China and the UK, I've been increasingly exposed to the sensation and pull of soccer.

In the US, we have the World Series for baseball, which is really just the US, and our giant event for American football, the Super Bowl, is again really just an American phenomenon.

In China, as much as it divides people into tribes or teams, it also unifies people across national boundaries into one joint event. The only thing close to this that I've encountered before has been the Olympics Games.

I don't know of many people in the US who realize how far-reaching the World Cup is.

It's a great unifier that strethes across cultural and ethnic boundaries. During the World Cup, most of the world suddenly has a common ground to come together on. Even if your country didn't make it to the World Cup, you can still root for a team, and even when your team falls, you still want to watch the matches to find out who the ultimate victor will be.

Some good examples of this phenomenon are my coworkers. My colleagues from Kyrgyzstan support France, and my Chinese coworker roots for Germany. My UK friends will support England, and it goes on. Televised soccer matches bring people together at bars or in front of TV sets for weeks. Unlike something like the Super Bowl that only lasts for a day, the World Cup continues for roughly a month!

It's a worldwide spectacle that many people in the US seem to miss out on entirely. We stay in our boxes and miss out on such an excellent opportunity to bring people together.

In some ways, this is the first time that I am seeing this happen at this level. Maybe it's the first time I looked up out of my American bubble to notice. I think that says something about how those of us from the US can often fall into the trap of only seeing things from a narrow point of view.

For reasons like this, I think everyone should take some time and see the rest of the world around them.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.


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