This has been quite a difficult year for me. I won’t go into all the why’s in this post because I want the focus to be on this amazing FIFA World Cup that has been hugely significant. Yes, I am talking about a sporting event that I watch on television. Mind you, I am not writing about the amazing football that has been on display. Also, I am not talking about the unique phenomenon of one of the only events with a true global audience. No my friends, I am writing about this world cup because of what it has done for me personally.
1. It has been a needed distraction. Remember how I said how hard this year has been for me? Well, sometimes you just need something other than yourself and your problems to pay attention to. It’s actually ok to HAVE FUN sometimes. I love soccer. I love the World Cup. For a few hours a day I can let other people do the work. Benefit: temporarily free from depression.
2. Because of the amount of time I have spent watching the matches – which take place during our night here in South Africa – I have been more intentional with the rest of my time. In other words, because I am gone in the evening (generally good family time), I have made sure to spend time with my wife and kids during the day. I have actually been more deliberate with my day in order to create the space to recreate in the evenings. Benefit: better quality time with people.
3. It’s created time for me to (re)connect with friends. I’ve felt quite isolated this year for a number of reasons. The World Cup has created opportunities to be with friends – old and new – several times each week. Being together is great and the banter and camaraderie has really done me well. I have a few friends with whom I have watched most of the tournament and it has been cool to share this experience. Benefit: friendship.
4. Conversations – How interesting it has been to see people around the world – soccer lovers and not – engage in conversation centered around the world cup. Topics like FIFA’s corruption, Brasil’s protests, Luis Suarez biting an opponent, Arjen Robben diving to draw a game-winning penalty, and Tim Howard’s amazing night of goalkeeping are in the news, facebook, and twitter. This soccer event brings up issues of culture, politics, values, and right & wrong. Benefit: opportunities to interact.
Yes, I know, it’s only sport. But this sport has done all of the above for me and I am thankful.