As America is standing still waiting for James LeBron to decide where he is going to play Basketball. The whole world stands still watching world cup football in South Africa. The World Cup phenomenon is so huge that around the world, most other sports activities postponed or cancelled during the four weeks FIFA World Cup games. Countries declare national holidays when their team plays a World Cup Game. A labor union organizer in England even advised its members on the different ways to call in sick during the games. Football ‘fanatics’ change their daily life and meeting schedules, and their social life will be rearranged around the games. As you watch the colorful fans with their faces painted like their national flags and blowing their traditional vulvuzela enjoying the game, you can get a glimpse of the huge impact of these games. The FIFA World Cup–where 32 countries from all over the world use their best resources to compete on the football field and under the same rules. The FIFA World Cup extravaganza—it comes thundering as if it is a World war, a war that is fought by 22 players armed only with the shirt on their backs, without hardly any equipment, no helmets or sticks. It is a game about life drama and disappointments, most of attacks end up foiled and goals not achieved, it teach more about reality in life, it is a civilized sport where the consequence of violence, and not violence itself, is glorified. Players seem to exaggerate their injuries on the field as to condemn violence and not to condone it. It’s a game where small countries like Slovenia, Slovakia, South African, Chile, or Algeria can challenge their former colonial powerhouse like Russia, England, Netherlands, Franc and Spain without fear of retaliation or invasion. A chance as the Atlantic online magazine stated; “This year’s postcolonial matchups include the U.S. versus the UK, Portugal versus Brazil, and Spain versus almost everybody else”. What is so different about the FIFA world cup games than our local games, it is not all about winning, it is about representing your country, each national team style of playing represents its own culture on the field, The direct organized English style, the defensive Italian style, the obnoxious eccentric style of Franc and the creative strength of African style, and Brazilian samba football that everyone around the world enjoy and admire., Franklin Foer’s 2004 book how soccer explains the world, describes the logic of Nigerian footballers on the pitch: “They had ingenuity that could make a bland Eastern Bloc team look downright continental.” a real clash of cultures where countries can compete on a field that is just and fair, to compete in a frontier where Americans do not, and cannot, yet dominate. The World Cup where countries can’t outsource their national bride, every four years everything is put on the line.
World’ football culture is creative, complex, multi-faceted, and inclusive. It is not so much about occupation of territory; it is about shifting positions, maneuvering and running a series of attacks and retreats, winning without physical elimination. World football is about shifting from defense to offense with such fluidity, that you need to understand not just your skills and capabilities, but at the same time avoiding the opponent’s strengths. While American Football has always been the American way of inviting people from all over the world to the American way, World’ football invites people from all over the world to be a football fan. G. Gordon Liddy explained why he hats world football “Whatever happened to American exceptionalism?” David Brook calls this American parochialism, we just don’t want to participate in world culture. World football is not all about winning; it is about the art of playing the beautiful game.
We die-hard World Cup fans are here in the U.S., seem lonely and overlooked, we are the real sleeper cells, but we’re watching, or taping, cheering, holding our breath, having our own tea parties cursing through every game that is played. We can identify Drogba, Rooney, and Kaka as well as Messi, Milito and Maicon. But as ‘world’ football fans, living in isolation, we can’t chat about the last game at the water cooler, find much coverage in the local paper, or even listen to the national news for updates. Although that the American national team made it to the world cup this year, a new Rasmussent reports stated that only 19% of Americans will follow the World Cup this year! And some countries sitting out this year would die for a chance—countries like Russia, Egypt, Northern Ireland and the Czech Republic who have to watch T.V. like everyone else. And even though in the U.S., our beloved football is overlooked and left out of the national ‘pastimes.’ We “tifosos’ are looked at as un-American, treated like outsiders, we maybe looked at as suspects and a bit like illegal immigrants.
Ahmed Tharwat/ Host Arab American TV show
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