Thursday, June 28, 2018

Three on Thursday

Joining Kat and Carole for Three on Thursday, and today it's with three things about The World Cup. Carole is on vacation, so while there is no Three on Thursday linkup, I had an interesting experience yesterday, and three things to share.

When we go to MD for "house stuff", John also has to work. His job has been transferred to a research facility that straddles the DE/MD line and we stay in a hotel in Newark, DE. Yesterday he went in to work early, told me that he would be back by noon, so I stayed at the hotel and read. I checked out mid-morning, sat in the lobby and pulled out my book to read, but was quickly distracted by all the people gathered around the TV, cheering and clapping. The TV was tuned to The World Cup. All the people watching seemed intense and intent, so I wandered over to see what was going on, and immediately became intent myself.

I have little interest in sports of any kind, but there were so many intriguing things about soccer and the matches that I watched that I wasn't even irritated when John didn't come back to pick me up until 3:30. (That's really saying something!) Here are three things I loved about The World Cup:

1.  The non-politicalness of it.
The first thing I noticed was that this is all happening in Russia, and not one person mentioned T*rump. The announcers, players, coaches, fans, and the crowd in the hotel lobby cared only about the games. 

2.  The unity of it. 
The analysts were an interesting multinational group that included English football forward female Kelly Smith, Dutch soccer player and coach Guus Hiddink, and retired American soccer player Alexi Lalas. The group in the hotel lobby included people from Mexico, Egypt, Poland, China, and the US, visiting PhDs doing astrophysics research at UDel, housekeepers, laundry workers, and hotel guests, but we were all enthralled and interested in the game together, no matter where we were from or our station in life. 

3.  It can give you a wider view.
To me, The World Cup is soccer, but others in the group called the game football. It was a great reminder of how the rest of the world often sees things differently from the US. American football is a big deal here, but it's only got 400 million fans compared to soccer's 3.5 billion fans. My immediate concern yesterday was the house inspection that showed termites, termite damage, defective appliances, plumbing issues and lots of other things that all add up to some very expensive fixes that neither we nor the seller want to pay for. But I watched Sweden beat Mexico, South Korea beat and eliminate Germany, and the beginning of the Brazil-Serbia match, and my concerns seemed a bit smaller. 

I'm sure there is plenty of politics in soccer; players, coaches, and fans who aren't feeling the unity, and those who don't want to take a wider view in sports or anything else, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time watching The World Cup, and might even be tuning in again today. Japan vs. Poland and England vs. Belgium could be good matches!


  1. I love World Cup Soccer -- for all the reasons you mention!!! (And my sum total experience with soccer was when my kids played AYSO in elementary school. So let's say . . . limited.) My favorite moment (so far) was watching the terribly disappointed Mexico fans realize their team was going to make it to the next round (thanks to Germany's loss and social media) while their team was still playing. The fans are incredible, aren't they? (And . . . GO SWEDEN!!!)

  2. What a great way of looking at this!! I have absolutely no interest in ANY sports...but you've almost convinced me to take a look.

  3. I find myself "somewhat" drawn in, but not to the degree of some of my European family. They are devastated that Germany lost.

  4. I say, GO SWEDEN too! It is also the perfect thing to knit to!

  5. Whenever I think that sports fans in the U.S. are over-the-top fanatics, I just remember a few incidents related to soccer and... nahhhhh. We're lightweights.

  6. The first time I ever watched and paid attention to the World Cup was in 2010. The games were held in South Africa and at the time,I was traveling in Israel and the West Bank. I stayed in Franciscan guest houses in Nazareth, Bethlehem, & Jerusalem and watched the games with other travelers from all over the world and was very moved for the same reasons you wrote about, but especially unity.

  7. Replies
    1. I don't have any real allegiance to any one team; I just say "Let the best team win" and I'm having a wonderful time watching. Mexico is still in it, so they still have a chance against Brazil on Monday!

  8. A wider perspective is always a good idea. Our son played a lot of soccer and he is watching some of the matches, keeping us posted.

  9. The only thing I know about soccer is that we have a team here in SLC (Real-pronouced Re-AL) and several of my friends go to the games. What's wonderful is that in a hotel lobby you were able to be entertained and inthralled with something other than worry. Good luck with all the house stuff!

  10. We have the Revolution here...that's all I know! My cousin and her Lebanese husband are HUGE fans and their son has informed me he's going to be a soccer star. :-) We watch a lot of sports in our house but soccer is not one of them! I'm glad you enjoyed yourself and so sorry about that "other" thing!

  11. YES for all those reasons! It was great fun to be in NYC when the tournament started - there was so much ENERGY in the streets (and the bars ;-)


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