Football (soccer): More than a game

The American media (aka ESPN) finally realizes that they can’t ignore the world’s most popular game. Football (soccer) and especially the World Cup makes all other sports look trifling.

In what other sport can you truly gather the world’s best talent and pit them head to head? The Olympics is global but there are only so few athletes per competition. Basketball is a world sport but the US players still retain hegemony.

Football flattens the world. Everyone participates, all because the cost of goods (a ball) is cheap and people can play anywhere. But the game is also inherently beautiful.

The passing, moving, one touches, and finishes are glorious to watch. Football is a philosophy. Its lessons provide tools for life: never stop moving, think ahead, show extreme passion, and compete individually but do it as a team.

Football is more visceral than other games. It’s tied to nations and therefore politics and identity. Today’s France/Germany game is an unavoidable reminder of the World Wars even though it really has nothing to do with it.

The thing about football – the important thing about football – is that it is not just about football.

Terry Pratchett

Football is bigger than the game on the field. It is a mirror of art, life, and politics all mixed into one. As essayist Aleksandar Hemon once wrote, “An average life seldom contains more than twenty World Cups.” Life is a series of World Cups.

There’s only one world, one game, and it’s football.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.