Joe: There’s something special that happens one out of every four years when the World Cup comes around. Regardless of how much war, political controversy, numerous and varying culture zeitgeist’s that are going on, it’s the only time for a 90 minute period where the human civilization seems to stop and come together.
I first got into soccer, or futbol/football as the rest of the world calls it, when Marijn came stateside. Initially in our first meet, being average American height of 5’9”, I quickly noticed his height well above that mark. More than that, the most lasting impression was the incredible demeanor and openness he has.
Despite the multiple sports and competitions the Olympics has, the World Cup is still seen and held on a higher level in terms of audience.
Football, Beer and good talks
It was with that, our love of good beer and varying topics of conversation that led to the topic of the world’s game. It’s a sport that during Christmas halted the brutal trench filled battles of World War 1 via the Christmas truce. Despite the multiple sports and competitions the Olympics has, the World Cup is still seen and held on a higher level in terms of audience.
It’s all over
Marijn: Last year, I think it was October, the Dutch national soccer team got beat good by the France team. Team kicked our butt 4-0. That was the last push our team needed after losing several games and firing the coach after losing against Bulgaria. An absolute shame with all do respect for the Bulgarians. The game against France meant that the World Cup was out of reach for ‘us’. A big disappointment but life goes on and the Dutch team, which finished third during the 2014 and second in 2010 World Cup, is missing out in Russia.
Compare it to a super bowl with your favorite team on the field.
USA is out
Luckily, having an American girlfriend gave me the opportunity to have a second chance. The US team only had to beat Trinidad and Tobago, easy peasy right. Even if the lost, there was a chance because Honduras had to beat Mexico. Well, over night (because of time change) USA lost and Mexico got their butts kicked but Honduras. Bye, bye World Cup for the US as well. It was the first time the US is missing out in more than 30 years.
Now the World Cup has started, it hurts again. Because watching the games of the Dutch team in a bar full with people dressed in orange jerseys with a semi cold beer (you sometimes forget to drink it because of excitement) is so much fun. We have to miss it because you don’t really have a team to root for.
Joe: It’s legitimately a sport, at least for a small period of time, that seemingly stops whatever it is that’s going on in the world and shuts “HEY! Let’s play!”…and the world depending on the teams playing (or if it’s the finals) stops, listens and watches.
And perhaps, that’s exactly what it needs right now.
World cup vs Super Bowl
Marijn: Compare it to a super bowl with your favorite team on the field. You want them to win and you are a bit scared to watch. And it’s not only men watching. Women love it too. When you ask a Dutch lady if she likes soccer a frequently used answer is: “only when the Dutch team is playing.” It’s because of the excitement and the gathering like you see during a super bowl night. It doesn’t matter if you don’t actually like soccer or don’t have a clue who is in the team. Watching your national team play, is always fun. Dutch companies even give people off or watch the games together in the office. Soccer is king in those times.
World Cup 2014
Joe: During the last one four years ago, I was at a local watering hole and enjoying lunch while speaking with Marijn on WhatsApp. While in two different timelines across the waters it gave us a reason to communicate and catch up. USA and the Netherlands were both in CUP and competing in tough matches. Now consider how amazing it is today that two people who have no horse in the race (as both nations were unable to qualify for the tournament this time around) are coming together in the same fashion.
Marijn: So we can conclude that, even though the USA nor the Dutch made it to the actual tournament, Joe and I are both enjoying it the World Cup very much. Sports bring us closer together again even though the actual distance in miles/kilometers still stays the same.
Here is to many more sports events, Joe. Hopefully our two countries will compete the next time though.