Musings on Soccer – From a Rookie
Article: Janean Lowenberger
Let me be clear: I am not a soccer player. Have I played soccer in my past? Certainly. My most recent soccer experience was on an intramural team right here at the U of R. The highlight of my short-lived soccer career, however, came around three years of age. Upon getting put into the game I, the soccer enthusiast I was, made the meanest of dashes across the length of the pitch – to the swing-set at the playground. To say that my interest in soccer in my past was low would be a lie; it was actually non-existent.
However, from having a British husband, I have since learned that it is treasonous to not at least pretend that you are interested in “footie” (and that potentially I could be banned from the U.K. for all of eternity if I make my position known). So, realizing the gravity of my duty to good ol’ Liz, I began the task of attempting to understand, and, even more arduously, liking the game of football. With the past three years of football learning under my belt, I encountered a first for me: the FIFA World Cup.
The World Cup is a very strange phenomenon to me. Why on Earth would you have this grand competition for soccer every four years when we have the Olympics? I am a huge Olympic fan, summer or winter, so the concept of wanting to stage another world-class event every four years (but never in the same year) puzzled me – why is this such a big deal? Simply put, soccer is the most popular sport in the world. This game, if one is hard pressed, really requires nothing but a ball and more than one person. It is a game that can be played just about anywhere, too.
I suppose that in Canada, soccer is overshadowed by, well, almost everything else simply because we do not have a very strong men’s team (although in the most recent summer Olympics, our women’s team did a great job of rallying Canada behind them). However, when one watches the World Cup, every country involved displays so much passion that it is hard not to get involved. I found myself, more often that I’d care to admit, shouting at the television during the games. For me, the passion of the players and the crowd had a huge impact on how I viewed the game, despite not being physically present in Brazil.
While I may not fully understand soccer and all of the rules associated with it, I do understand passion for the game you love. It was quite inspiring to watch the games over the six-week period, and you can be certain that a generation of young football players were inspired to one day sport the colours of their country. I may never fully understand the intricacies of FIFA and the World Cup, but I have gained a tremendous amount of respect for the soccer community. Keep calm and kick on everyone, and one day I just might join you.