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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • Futbol unites the World

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  • Well, I’m back from my incredible journey to Brazil. It was probably the best three straight weeks I’ve ever experienced and I miss it already.
     
    Although hiking up mountains, swimming in the Atlantic on secluded beaches, visiting Iguazu Falls, and taking an excursion into the Amazon Rainforest were some fun highlights, the best part of the trip was the World Cup atmosphere. Everyone in Brazil was there for one reason: the love of soccer. It didn’t matter what side you were on, or what jersey you wore in Brazil. Everyone respected one another, all due to the undeniable passion for the game.
     
    One of the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. is we have so many different sports to watch. In Brazil, everyone was watching the World Cup games when they were on. And I mean literally everyone. Every bar, restaurant, small store, and street vendor that we passed by during a game had a TV set up, all turned to the same channel. It didn’t even matter which teams were playing. With every goal came shouts and cheers and celebration, including fireworks and an abundance of noisemakers. The amount of passion and excitement completely trumps any fan base in the U.S. Even the announcers get into it. It’s almost sad to see the lack of excitement nowadays when someone hits a home run or scores a touchdown.
     
    What’s even more depressing is the amount of hate and distaste we have for our opponents in the U.S. Viking and Packer fans for instance, almost despise one another. In the World Cup, all the fans get along. We had Ghana fans coming up to us after the U.S. and Ghana game to shake our hands. We had fans from all over the World taking pictures with us. After the U.S. and Portugal game, I posed next to a Portugal fan in a wheel chair for a photo and he was more than excited that I approached him. I saw on the news a photo of Iran and Israeli fans celebrating together. It’s just what World Cup fans do. They forget about the politics the wars, the cultural differences, and unite as human beings. It’s the way it should be.
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