We’re almost at the halfway mark of the World Cup 2014. There’s been plenty of thrills and spills, and at the time of writing, a quarter of the quarter final matches have been confirmed. Many would agree that this has been one of the most exciting world cups in recent history. Why?
In my humble opinion, I think the world game and soccer in general has ‘equalized’. By this, I mean that the understanding and appreciation of the game is now complete, whether you are an ex-world champion with loads of experience, or a debut team with a lot of passion and determination and conviction to make it there and beyond. Because people generally now have access to the same resources and knowledge as others in the peer group (in this case, the world cuppers), managers, coaches and players can now strategize and plan their moves and counter-moves to overcome their opponents. This is what we are seeing in this world cup. Any team that comes in thinking they can just do what they did previously and hope to win will be in for a big surprise, as teams like Italy, England, Spain and even Germany have discovered. The only teams that stutter are the ones that refuse to adapt and evolve. Although seemingly insignificant, this great equalizing big idea powerfully enabled by technology and accessibility has given the Davids of this world tremendous ability to defeat the Goliaths.
However, the big spiritual question today that I want to ask about the World Cup is – Is God watching? I can’t help but be blown away by the humility and piousness of some of the players and managers (and fans too). Sometimes, you sense that players are playing for their country, fans and other players. But, the truly masterful and virtuoso performances I feel are played for God. How else can you explain the gestures and ‘actions’ of the players when they celebrate their goal? These ambassadors of God are shining their light in perhaps the biggest stage in their lives, and what a wonderful job they are doing.
Case in point is this morning’s goal by Jackson Martinez from Colombia. Here is a religious man who the commentator made it a point to state as someone who begins each day with the bible. Is that common knowledge? Is that what makes a soccer player stand out? How did that get in the script? He is but one example, there are so many you can see – what do players do before they step into the field, or off it? When they miss a goal, who are they asking forgiveness from (hint – they look up!)? When they score a goal, (more often than not), how do they celebrate?
What the world cup has shown is that it is more than a game, and tournament. It is an opportunity to showcase the human spirit and in a certain way, a form of worship for the players and fans. It is a pity that we have to wait 4 years to experience the next one. But, from the ominous signs of how it is evolving, I can’t wait to see what comes next. I have a feeling God feels the same way too.
Does anyone remember what happened in the last world cup !? Guess what he’s going to be when he grows up?