Friday, June 18, 2010

rooting for the underdog

The World Cup is the following: four weeks once every four years, in which everyone has something to hope for. Everyone has a team to cheer for, and during the first round every country has a shot at winning. If you ask anyone from a country that didn't get into the Cup, they'll tell you with a smirk that their country's team just isn't good enough for the global stage - but that's ok, they cheer for Brasil. (Or perhaps they cheer for Germany, Argentina or Italy. Blegh.)

Everywhere I've lived in the world, it's been beautiful to see people come together around football. And it's even more beautiful to see people's faces full of hope and optimism as they deck out their cars and streets with flags representing their chosen country.

This is why I want to cheer for an underdog. I want to support the country I'd never associate myself with in any other circumstances, mainly because I come from privilege. I don't want to support a country that's rich, and I don't want to support a country that has won before. Unless, of course, it's Brasil, because that I admit that my green-and-yellow loyalty is seared into my soul,

Brasil is a symbol to the world, though, because it has won the World Cup more times than any other country (5 times, compared to the next-best of 3 times). I've also learned that no country outside of Europe or South America has ever won the World Cup. Brasil is the only South American country who has won the World Cup at a tournament that took place outside of South America. The humble beginnings of many Brasilian players means that people all over the world can relate: they're poor and they're winners too. People suffering all around the world, like Haitians in the camps or Palestinian refugees, find hope in cheering for Brasil.

But how much more exciting would it be if people could find hope in seeing someone truly come from behind, before our very own eyes? How exciting would it be if the players from a country with a brutal dictatorship could take pride in their craft and cause people to forget the politics by which they are judged - even if they had no role in building those politics! How exciting would it be if a team forged from drought and war in Western Africa emerged as victorious over all? This, I believe, would bolster the hope of our planet and might do more to the humanitarian causes of peace and holistic development than any NGO or such institution!

No comments:

Post a Comment