World Cup Runneth Empty

My World Cup Runneth Over

I suppose that a lot of people will have their feathers ruffled at what I have to say. Of course, seeing as this is my opinion and those people can stop reading whenever they like, they have only themselves to blame.

The world is abuzz with team names, stats, and flags from all over the place. It’s an exciting time unless, of course, you are annoyed as all hell with the marketing.

Don’t misunderstand me, though. I have a lot of respect for the athletes of the sport. It’s not the easiest sport to play, taking a lot of endurance and coordination.

And I have entered a pool for the sport, picking mostly underdog teams just for the heck of it*, so it’s not like I live in a hole and have never heard of the world cup.

My problem has more to do with people than the event itself.

The World Cup is Half Empty

I can guarantee that for the next few weeks that someone will stroll up to me at some point during each day and ask me who I think is going to win the World Cup.

I can also guarantee that their faces will contort when I tell them I don’t really care

Soccer Nut: What do you mean you don’t really care?
Jorge: Exactly what I said.
SN: How can you not like the sport?
J: I didn’t say I didn’t like it. I just don’t care about the World Cup. I’d rather be playing soccer than watching anyway.
SN: You’re weird.

Truth be told, most sporting events in their finals stage highlight how weird a number of sporting fanatics are.

I’m sure more people become excited about these events than they do about elections or political issues. It wouldn’t be a lie to say that there are more people who know the statistics of their favourite sports teams than they do about issues that affect the environment.

I am certainly not perfect. I could be better versed in the news and the goings-on in the world. At the same time, though, I try my best to be a good person, helping where I can.

Sports, as fun as they are, do little to forward our species’ development. I know that they encourage people to go out there and play. But seriously, take a look at your average sports fan and you tell me what you see.

If people** spent a fraction of their sports fan energy on building their knowledge of the world, raising their children to be good citizens and protecting the environment, we would be in far better shape.

* – As you can guess, I am in last place in the pool.
** – This is not intended as a slight to people who like sports. It is really more of a commentary on people who endlessly complain about the country they live in while never doing anything about it. However, these same people have no problem painting their faces and running around causing trouble because some sports team won or lost.

34 Responses

  1. I have to disagree with you that sports do little to forward our species. We are just finding out the rewards of having children involved in sports. They learn interaction with their fellow man, competiveness (good and bad), fairplay and even compassion. They teach you how to lose gracefully and that it’s not the end of the world.

    As far as keeping stats, we all keep stats on things we love, I may keep them for hochey, you may keep them for Karate, or Gaming or even art.

    As a karate-ka I do not paint but my movements and my interpretation makes it an art form, just the same as Wayne Gretsky’s ability to move the puck.

    You could argue that the Mona Lisa has not advance the species but it does inspire. I think the same in sports.

  2. Sports for children is a multi-faceted animal.

    Some children learn fair play.
    Others learn competitiveness, and what stress means at an early age.
    Others are living the broken dreams of their parents.

    You are speaking about the ideal teaching of sports, which I see very few examples of. It’s funny how the language of sportsmanship seems to contain an awful lot of cursing when someone loses. 🙂

    My point about statistics is that some people have little use for anything other than sports statistics. For an example of this, take a citizenship exam. Most of us would fail. But ask us about out favourite hockey teams and we will blather on until the cows come home. Yes, there are statistics in everything, but in sports it’s something on a different level.

    I’m not sure what being karate-ka has to do with this, as the art as a whole is devoted to improvement of the self. Indeed, some would look at sports as an improvement of the self as well, however I think Pro-Line would disagree.

    And while sports can be inspirational, it does much to bring out the darkness in the human spirit. The bigger the event, the more radical the change.

  3. But this argument could be for any fanatical aspect of human nature, not just sports. Any human event has an ideal and a awful example attached to it.

    One may know how to take a citizenship exam but may not be able to relate to another human being. How many times have you watched Jeopardy and wondered if some of those 40 year olds still live at home with their parents.

    As far as karate. It is still a sport. The matter that you have embrassed the true meaning of it may not be a factor that every practioner shares with you. All you have to do is watch Ultimate Fighter to understand that.

    I guess I don’t like to blame one event on the dark nature of human beings because in that same event you could find examples of grace and ugliness, much like any other activity human beings choose to get involved in.

  4. Actually I should of read the fine print on your post…I did not and therefore this shaped the wording of my comments.

    Back 4 years ago Canada was in the world cup and I could not see one flag flying anywhere to commemerate that. Even though one knew they would not go far one would think that you would respect the country that you live in.

  5. Indeed, this could relate to any fanatical aspect of human nature. However, the whole article was written about sporting events such as the World Cup, and I believe that while fanaticism exists in many forms in the world, nowhere is it more prevalent than in Religion, Stardom and Sports.

    In terms of my own loyalties, I will always cheer on Canada and Brazil. My two favourite countries.

  6. I think that Religion, Stardom and Sports are not the causes of fanaticisms but they are victimized by fanatics within each discipline. Most religions for example, teach peace and harmony, including Islam, but look how a few fanatical individuals have tainted it recently.

    I love Canada in winter, spring, summer and Fall and now that they are not in it. Go Brasil Go!!!!

  7. Relegion: Crusades, Mass genocide
    Sports: World Cup, Stanley Cup
    Stardom: The Desperate Housewives

  8. Religion:Mother Theresa, Ghandi, American clergyman Martin Luther King

    Sports: Tim Horton’s kids hockey for fun, Kids in Karate, a way to learn discipline, self awareness

    Stardom:Aids Awareness, Al Gore fighting for the enviroment, Angelina Jolie fighting against world poverty, hurricane Catrina relief

    Events do not mold us, we influence the events

  9. Let us recap:

    Truth be told, most sporting events in their finals stage highlight how weird a number of sporting fanatics are.

    So, I wrote that sporting events highlight how weird some sporting fanatics are.

    …more people become excited…wouldn’t be a lie to say that there are more people who know the statistics…

    Again, in this particular sentence, it is the people who become excited.

    Sports, as fun as they are, do little to forward our species’ development…

    By your admission, people influence events, so as a standalone situation a sport does nothing.

    If people spent a fraction of their sports fan energy on…

    And so on and so on.

    You’re arguing my point for me. I’m saying that the sporting event is the trigger, people are the cause.

  10. So what you are saying is: as a stand alone situation, anything does nothing.
    Way to go.
    How about people who complain and spend time ranting on their blogs?
    How do you define “forwarding the development of our species”? Does fine art count? The art of cooking? How about language development? All of these things came to be because someone was “fanatical” enough about them at some time or another.

  11. I too could pick lines of any of our comments and make statements to further my point too, but I won’t do that because that would be taking words out of context.

    I think you missed the point I was trying to make that humans no matter what they are involved in are good and bad. Sports, Religion, Stardom “teaches” (verb) us lessons good or bad that we as humans must decide how to use.

    If you are going to blame sports for not advancing human nature than I agree with Anonymous. What does? Name it. It’s probably something close to your heart as sports is close to someone else’s.

    As an average fan who really does get exicited about the world cup, stanley cup finals etc., I resent that you may think that sums me all up. Many other people have OTHER interests in their lives that define them. We are all greater sums of our parts.

    After all back in our cave days it was the gathering of people around a fire, singing a song, or playing a game that ultimately allowed our species to advance.

  12. Nice one anon. Your point about “fanaticism” is well taken, as without rocking the boat, we wouldn’t have a lot of what we take for granted today. As for anything does nothing, thing of sports with no people. Sure, it’s an extreme, but it’s true. With no one to kick a soccer ball around, there is not much to get excited about, is there?

    Two questions for you, though (if you come back):
    1) What sort of breakthroughs do you think will come from hooliganism?
    2) If I had tagged my article as anything other than “ranting” would you have written your comment about complaining and ranting on their blogs? In either case, I find it ironic that you would bother to comment at all then. 😉

    All I was doing was making a comment on people’s priorities. I find it interesting how some people can pour so much energy into something that has a far smaller effect on their lives than something else that may actually matter more in the big picture.

    Although, I suppose there are brief moments of happiness like when the team you’re rooting for scores goals. The flip side is that the goals scored doesn’t really translate into changes in the way things are run in the country.

    I prefaced this with this is my opinion, don’t forget.

  13. Not the same Anonymous as the one above.
    Sometimes people need a release or something to take their minds off the daily grind called life. And who is to say that what one person pours their energy into is less important than what another person pours their energy into….be it sports or photography. Some like their video games….some like sports…some like cooking…in the big picture, it’s a small effect, but if it affords the person some small sense of happiness or pride in the ability to do something well….there’s nothing wrong with it.

  14. There is nothing wrong with celebration at all.
    I’m just wondering why other issues are less important.

  15. You make a really good point, Jorge, really good, and how often do I say that? I really don’t know what’s going on with it, I don’t watch TV so that helps, but you can’t help but notice all the cars with flags, and the t-shirts in almost every store window. Of course, at the bars I’ve been in, there still seems to be a tenous hold on hockey at the moment. I think it’s a little strange how excited anyone can get over a mere game, but your notion of the depressing dichotomy between sport and political allegiance and participation, now that’s good commentary.

    Good on ya.

  16. p.s. I think anyone who thinks you are anti-sports has misread or misinterepreted. While playing sports is part of a happy and healthy lifestyle and certainly beneficial, you still weren’t even saying that people shouldn’t watch sports – maybe that they should just devote at least as much energy into the things that really matter than watching some guy chase around a ball.

  17. Thanks Jay.

    You are my Clarica agent.

  18. I don’t think anyone who is pro-enviroment will be putting flags on the windows of cars and hooting their horns to celetbrate that fact. So comparing someone’s passion the soocer game to major issues we have in may not be appropriate.

    Those same people may be championing the causes we are talking about while the rest of us are sitting here writing in blogs about it. How do we know these same people are devoting the rest of their lives to good causes. You can’t tell that by the flag they fly on their car.

    I too know Jorge to be very open minded and competitive person, who would love nothing better to have Brasil win the cup. But other people login to the conversation have to rely on the pure statement of the blog, they do not have the previlage of knowing jorge first hand.

  19. Again.

    This all started with my opinion.

    Anyone who likes to tell me my opinion is wrong can go ahead and do that.

    If people actually paid more attention to the things around them, then Harper would not be PM.


  20. You may want to kill me, but you’re coming across as a “half empty” rather than a “half full” kinda guy to me.

  21. No need to kill you.
    You’ll be doing that this weekend to yourself moving all that furniture and such.


    You did read the title, right?

    I consider myself to be an optimistic realist. A plan for the worst, hope for the best type of person.

    I’m not positive about everything.
    But then, I have many more things to be positive about than a lot of people.

  22. Whoa. What a firestorm you ignited, Jorge.

    I’m going to just say that I love sports. But I’ve never been a big fan of soccer. (We never played soccer when around here when I was a kid.)

  23. A plan for the worst hope for the best

    that is “not” optimistic dude
    like Tien has said “its a glass half full” view

  24. “Think” what you want.

    It’s one thing to be optimistic.
    It’s another to be blind.

  25. Sports.
    The Brazillian.

    All touch deep nerves.

  26. i appreciate what you’re saying, but there’s something beyond the tournament itself that i’m really enjoying… it’s this equalizing topic of conversation… at work (i work at a university), i can talk to (many) senior admin and (most) students about it… i like that there is something that has engaged the interest of such a broad range of people… yes, it’s exciting, though i consider myself a world cup widow to my husband, who is all but painting his face… it’s also a totally different experience from when i lived in the states (which was at least 5 years ago- and i’m sure things have changed since then)– but i really heard nothing about the world cup in the suburban US (even when they hosted it in 1994), whereas in toronto you simply can’t miss it… hm

  27. Again, it’s not that I don’t appreciate the off-field aspects of the tournament. It is a great conversation piece.

    What I’m saying is that it is something that seems to engage people more than political issues.

    Toronto is definitely a world cup friendly city.

  28. Are you saying that someone who is pursuing a cause should be committed 100% of every waking moment to it. Wouldn’t that be the definition of fanatical?

    People are capable of multi-tasking but we do need stress relief and entertainment even for those people who are trying to save the world.

    You make it sound that if I spend 3 hours of a 24 hour day watching the world cup, that I am not committed to issues. I think that it’s wrong to think that.

    Yes your right that the enviroment does not get as much publicity than the NHL, NBA, NHL and the World Cup, but don’t blame the fans for that. That blame should be placed squarly on the major broadcasting companies.

    After all by your own standards – Sitting watching family guy for a half hour should be just as bad, and a lot of us talk about those episodes more often than the world cup.

  29. Watching the Family Guy doesn’t tend to cause riots and people going to the hospital.

    I think this horse is beaten to death.

    You don’t get my point, and that’s fine.

  30. “Watching the Family Guy doesn’t tend to cause riots and people going to the hospital.”

    Obviously you’re not watching it properly.

  31. Hahaha.


    Actually, if you get a chance, you should scour YouTube for Seth McFarlane’s speech to the Class of 2006 at Harvard.

    Funny stuff.

  32. Its interesting to see how people react when the World Cup comes around. People suddenly embrace their heritage in the name of soccer. I say if its a way to connect with your roots, great, just don’t keep people up all night beeping the damn horn if your team wins.

  33. […] I don’t want to spend too much time on this and I also know this can be a bit of a touchy subject, but I can’t be quiet any more.  What is the deal with the World Cup?  This year, I said to myself, I am going to give it a legitimate try.  I watched a total of 3 games, including the final on Sunday and was thoroughly unimpressed.  I find it boring and I feel I must be missing something.  I even watched it in all it’s High Def glory but it made nothing inside me stir.  Honestly folks I tried.  I guess I will have to wait until the NFL season (or until the next season of Pros VS Joes!). […]

  34. […] World Cup Runneth Empty […]

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