Top 6 Reasons to Watch the Rest of the World Cup

It has been quite a few months since the last post here, with wedding planning, an agressive work schedule, and several attempts at maintaining an exercise regiment, it has been a busy year. That being said, it is well overdue for a little discussion of culture, and with the World Cup in full swing, this article practically writes itself. I find it interesting that many people with whom I converse indicate that they are not watching any of the World Cup games this year. There’s always a reason: “the USA isn’t in it;” “It’s at a weird time and I can’t watch the games;” “I don’t like soccer.” Sure, that is all fine and good, and you are more than welcome to your own excuses and opinions, but I recommend that you power through those excuses and create an opportunity to watch one of the final games. The rest of this article shares my 6 reasons you absolutely must watch the rest of the World Cup:

6. Creating opportunity to make new friends. While you and the people you spend time with may not be avid soccer watchers, chances are that some people that you see at work or at church on Sundays, or that person that sits silently next to you at your local bar does watch it. You may not want to strike up a conversation with any of these people, but chosing not to watch a game deprives you of any opportunity. Watching a game (whether you liked it or not) gives you the opportunity to talk about something because it’s relevant. If you ask someone if they have watched the latest game, 2 things could happen: 1. No, they didn’t watch it. Oh well. 2. They did! Now you have done your part, let them take the conversation because they likely have an opinion about it. Who knows, you might meet someone you like just using a World Cup game as an icebreaker.

5. Breaking language barriers. Similar to #6, the WC helps you to start a conversation with people all over; Including in other countries. The rest of world is obsessing over this tournament, and they all assume that everyone in the USA doesn’t care about soccer. So if you’re stuck on layover in Paris, mention a player or play that you saw in the World Cup, and you will likely be able to make a new best friend without knowing a word of the other country’s language. Helpful hint: mimicking and sound effects can often work even better than words!

4. The Internet. With anything that the world obsesses over, it will also take over the internet. Bang for your buck on entertainment value this year: Neymar memes. If you missed it, go back and watch as Neymar rolls aggressively around on the floor, or when he gets stepped on and overreacts so drastically even soap opera extras are laughing hysterically! After these displays, the internet is on fire and there are more entertaining memes than you could possibly watch.
Here’s a preview - (Note: You’re not the only one who likes soccer less because of this. Soccer enthusiast hate these reactions since it cheapens the game; hence the memes)

Link to a few memes:
Neymar family reunion
If Neymar was a dog
Many More!

3. Like it or not, here it comes! Soccer has been growing in the US for the past 30 years, and it’s not going to stop anytime soon. With the immensely successful and league changing team, Atlanta United, being added to the MLS in 2017, there is now a clear vision as to where the US wants to be: At the top! Since Atl Utd joined the MLS, game attendance, memorabilia, and MLS games watched on tv have been at all time highs. In addition, teams have brought in some of the best players in the world such as Sebastian Schweinsteiger, David Villa, and Kaka. While the level of play is not quite at the English Premier League level yet, the transition is underway and games have never been this exciting. The World Cup is a perfect intro into watching the MLS and starting to learn about a sport you might not have enjoyed in the past.

2. It’s damn entertaining. Soccer is a fast paced non-stop adrenaline rush to the finish! Players juggle the ball, get in fights, and score seemingly impossible goals. Best of all, it’s one of the easiest sports to learn: 90 mins long with 1 commercial break at half time, and the premise is that your team tries to kick the ball into the other goal. The only challenging rule is offsides and that’s easy to understand as well. Sure there are slow games, poor sportsmanship, and often there is the option for the game to end in a tie: But not at this stage in the World Cup, so don’t use that as an excuse!

1. Culture - We have now discussed how the rest of the world is crazy about this tournament as well as the US joining in by changing the game with their MLS league; So who doesn’t watch the World Cup?

You. It’s really just you.

The world loves this tournament for a reason: It has the best players, playing the world’s favorite sport, and players giving everything they have for this immense opportunity to show their patriotism and athleticism. 3 of the top 5 highest paid athletes in the world are playing in the WC this year, and none of them have won this trophy yet because the competition is so intense.

Additionally the WC is a tremendous reminder that it’s ok to leave your city, your state, or your country. It’s ok to visit other places and see what else the world has to offer. Thousands (millions?) of people from all over the world have traveled to celebrate in Russia despite their political and religious differences. Every World Cup brings people closer together through familiarity, common interest, and the experience. It humanizes people who are from areas you only hear about on the news. It creates opportunity for people watching at home to say, “I might have something to talk about at work tomorrow!” and if none of that’s good enough for you, then at least it’s something that you can watch with a good beer in hand!

See at the next game!