Imagine for a minute dedicating your life for four years to onetask. Imagine that you might only get one chance at completing thistask. Imagine bonding with 15 other people to achieve this task.Now you are in the cleats of an international soccer player.
Now imagine dedicating your attention for two hours out of thosefour years to that one task. Imagine that just 30 seconds out ofthose two hours makes a difference in whether you are successful atthat task. Imagine hanging on every kick, every header, every save,every pass, every lob, every bounce of the ball, waiting for those30 seconds to come. Now you are in the shoes of an internationalsoccer fan.
The U.S. is spoiled with its wealth, talent and ability to houseseveral major sports that are worth watching, but American sportsculminate every day, every week and every year to a championship.The Super Bowl, the World Series, the Stanley Cup, the NBAChampionship; these sports belong to players who have 20+ years toaccomplish the ultimate goal in their respective athleticcompetitions and fans that can always shrug off an unsuccessfulyear and say "we'll get em' next time." These sports belong torosters that extend in some cases to five times the amount ofplayers actually involved in the outcome. These sports are regular,monotonous, expected, plentiful, normal. The World Cup is anythingbut normal.
Eleven athletes take the field at once for a team during asoccer match. No sport necessitates the involvement of that manyplayers to be on the field and aware at all times. Sure, footballsports this many players, but receivers don't always get thrown to,lineman aren't always rushed and kickers play on average less thanthree minutes per game. Sixteen athletes make up a full World Cuproster. Football boasts not only two different squads of 11, but50+ total people ready to step in if need be. Hockey boasts 20+ onthe ice in one given game and baseball at 9 with many games nothosting any significant action for half the players.
Soccer is more precise. Requires more out of each individualathlete. More out of the team as a whole.
All 11 players must have their eye on the ball, for when that 30seconds calls, it could call on any, if not all, of those eleven'footballers.'
The United States does not share the excitement and respect forthe game as the rest of the world does. I don't blame you, America,we're a young country, we're spoiled with a multitude of othersports and heck, we've made a habit of rebelling from the rest ofthe world, it's why we exist as a country after all.
Over the next 30 days of excitement that is the World Cup, I'llgive you 11 reasons why we should, and will, share the excitementthat 5+ billion other people do.
Reason #1: Anticipation
I've heard this quote more times than I can keep track of:"Soccer is boring."
Quite the contrary, soccer isn't boring, it's build-up.
Why do people gamble? Not because they know they'll win, but forthe excitement and the anticipation that they could win. The World Cup is like this in many ways.
Four years. That's how long the World Cup is anticipated. Noother sport boasts such individual dedication for one event. TheOlympics, yes, but how many Olympians run, ski, swim in multipleevents. Michael Phelps didn't play in one tournament, heparticipated in eight different events. He won the highest honor inall of those events. While impressive, this is impossible in theWorld Cup. There is only one honor to win and it takes four yearsof dedication to try and earn that honor.
And when the games themselves finally come around, 30 secondschanges everything for the eleven men who have dedicated andanticipated those four years to get there. The anticipation ofthose 30 seconds in the span of a two-hour soccer match makes itthe most exciting sport to watch. When will the game change? When will the tournament change? When will your life change?
Soccer has the lowest amount of points scored of any sport inthe world. One goal, one miss, one penalty, one centimeter can change the outcome of every game,of every tournament, of every dream. For some, one moment defines alifetime of dedication.
Have you ever worked four years for something only to have 30seconds change everything about it? Have you ever worked your whole life for something only to have 30second change everything about it? No competition, activity, hobbyor lifestyle compares to this. Nothing comes close.
One moment in four years changes everything. Just think aboutthat.
Check back with WCPO.com over the next 30 days of the World Cupas I countdown the 11 reasons why soccer is the best sport in theworld.