The World Cup has once again captivated millions of erstwhile sports and television fans, but the attraction for me is far more basic than a sense of nationalistic hope. Football, as it is know worldwide, seems to be an ageless sport that has escaped the frenzy of scoring associated with the NBA and the technological improvements of performance enhancing equipment of other modern sports. In its most basic form, soccer is a team sport that combines individual skill and team dynamics. Scoring is often earned through the same hard work and effort that denies the opportunity to the opposing team. Offensive and defensive exchanges reflect the many attempts that are not always rewarded on the scoreboard and this is where I believe many of us find our connection to the sport.
Most of life parallels the pace of the match where scoring attempts are often thwarted, but effort is expected on both sides. Daily life, for most of us, is a series of attempts and failures. Success is not often named as such when we do what is expected time and time again. Like many matches in this year’s World Cup, life is full of draws where neither side has a clear-cut victory; we have played well and done what is expected. For the team and individuals alike there is a sense of accomplishment in having played well. Some teams and individuals do enjoy success at a great level, but those are few. There will be one only one World Cup Champion.
Just because there is one champion does not mean that there are multiple losers. We need to measure our lives and efforts in more realistic terms. Our efforts, from teaching to parenting to working to playing deserve evaluation criteria that are honest and life giving. At the end of the day, or match we need to be able to say and accept, “Well done” as an ample reward.