I am and always have been an un-athletic person. My sole claim to anything in this arena has always been flexibility - but even that diminishes with disuse. Perhaps this explains my complete lack of interest in any kind of sport, whatsoever... except Soccer.
I simply love watching the World Cup. It surpasses even the Olympics, if I had to compare. My family was stationed in Sicily during my teen years, and soccer was very big there, of course. I even recall collecting soccer cards for a time and having the coveted Pele. Who knows where they all went, like most every thing I had as a kid. But what remained was a fascination with this game. I usually choose to root for a team, making my decisions on random whim. Inside, I am the champion of the surprise - who will rise up and show himself at his best? It is a magical moment that is available to any one of them and could happen at any moment. Each man holds the possibility.
There is an element of dance in the player's movements. The individual counts, but team interplay wins out; speed is key but not necessarily critical; the tide can turn with the roll off of a foot or head. There are always the flashes of immaturity, but I look for signs of good sportsmanship and commendable manliness and they show up again and again. I love the variance and complexity of the teams and how they react to one another, coming from around the globe and stepping forward with pride to face worthy opponents. For me, there is simply so much to admire in the game, and more importantly, to honor. This World Cup has not disappointed.
Japan, Ghana, Paraguay - we humbly thank you. You were mighty warriors and a thrill to watch. Netherlands, Germany, Spain - we will be sitting on the edge of our seats, our appreciation is in advance for the splendor you will undoubtedly display.
In keeping with our4th of July celebrations this weekend, here is a noble quote by Thomas Jefferson: "Victory and defeat are each of the same price." And as such, walk off that field in South America with your heads held high, all contenders for the cup.