In my childhood days, our sport of choice in the evenings would be a reflection of the current international sporting event. If India were playing cricket in a test series or a one-day international series, then we would become the latest sensation of the time while batting, bowling or fielding. If badminton was the flavor of the day via the Asia Cup or the Thomas and Uber Cup, we would shift seamlessly to playing badminton. During times of the Euro Cup or the FIFA World Cup, it would be time for some football action on the streets around the house. Fast forward to XX years later, and my blog posts reflect the current craze on sports and news channels across the world!
Le Jogo Bonito is being watched by more than half the population of the world. The FIFA has more members than the United Nations, for God’s sake! Put that in perspective – if FIFA so wishes, it could formulate or play a part in brokering peace between nations more effectively than the UN. Imagine that! There have been movies such as Lagaan, Gridiron, etc. where conflicts have boiled down to a single game between the oppressed and the oppressors with no prizes for guessing the eventual victors of such a game. They say that the lure of football is in the ease with which it can be played. All it needs is a ball and two people willing to kick it around. I’m sure that is over-simplifying things. By the same yardstick, handball should have been even more popular than being played in a handful of European countries. I can not fathom to put forward an argument on a topic that I am sure has been researched and theorized about for years. Oh well! (sigh)
Whatever the reason may be – the sport and the event itself makes for a grand spectacle. It is great to watch countries the size of a township in the United States take on nations about 50 times their size and defeat them on a football pitch. The drama, the controversies, the talent, the skill, the craze – all of which lead to make it one of the most looked forward to events of the year. Where else would we get to watch perfectly mature adults argue with the referee like school kids? In true WWE style, a touch from a boot of an opposition player is enough to send a player sprawling across the ground in agony. Who would want to be a referee?!
The fun continues for another 2-3 weeks – after that, it would be time for some other sport. All that would be left for the players would be memories. For many of them, this would be the event of their lives. Once done with, they fade away from the world stage. For viewers like me, it would be a wait for another 4 years before the World Cup will take centre stage once again.