The World Cup.
The original football.
Engalnd vs. Germany, France Vs. Italy, Brazil vs. Argentina, Europe vs. South America, all with African, Asian, Middle Eastern and North American teams hungry for success.
No other sporting event has so many stories and so much national pride invested. The Olympics may be close, but is frankly diluted by the sheer number of events to the point where almost every nation has some success. There is only one winner in this event. Only one nation reigns supreme at the end.
Pagentry. Nationalism. It’s the closest thing we have to medieval warfare. The honest brutality of which I think we all subconsciously crave in this day and age. We know our enemy. He’s over on the other side of the stadium. And he’s wearing Blue.
The U.S. doesn’t have a prayer. And maybe that’s part of our collective ambivalence. If we aren’t the best at something then we aren’t interretsed. But I actually find it refreshing to have a sporting event that we are participating in at the highest level where we do not dominate and are not expected to win. Our basketball “dream team” has become a disaster and an embarassment. Give me a struggling squad with no where to go but up. Give me a handfull of players who collectively probably don’t make what the average quarterback in the NFL makes. Give me young men without the egos of rock stars. Give me the hunger that makes for honest competition.
I’ll admit this is not the best soccer you will see. The players haven’t played together enough and many are just coming off long seasons that left them with nagging injuries. But no event on earth beats the sheer spectacle that is the World Cup.