The world’s biggest sporting event is in full swing. The global eyes are on the national teams of thirty-two teams as they play for the most coveted trophy in football, The World Cup. There is no doubt that soccer is the world’s game.
So much of humanity is represented in the game of soccer. It has to be in order for the sport to be so popular. Games are very often bigger than just play. Here are five deeply true human patterns that have implanted themselves within the game of soccer.
1) Prolonged Misery
Pele (the Michael Jordan of soccer history) famously described soccer as The Beautiful Game. The world seems to agree with him. Fans are passionate about the potential, the strategy, and the glory that comes within soccer.
But soccer has also been described as The Game of Misery. Americans have been slow to the sport because of how long it takes for goals to be scored. Tension builds as the misery of not being able to get the ball in the net mounts. Players are putting their hands on their heads after every play. The slow-mo camera captures the anguish on players’ faces and fans in the crowd.
Americans don’t like suffering and it is maybe the biggest reason we are late to accepting soccer. This is a sport of misery, played in the pit of despair. All of it worth it when a goal is scored, the angst relieved, and the pendulum whipping back in the other direction towards intense joy.
Life works this way as well. We have to go through the trials, the sorrow, the uncertainty in order to truly experience the highs, be thankful for the joys. Nobody likes the hurt, the pain, the sacrifice, and the sorrow. But they are necessary parts of the beauty of life. And The Beautiful Game.
2) Looking for a Goal
One of the reasons sports are so popular is because it is a simplified version of the framework of life. A straight forward metaphor.
In soccer, the players are working towards the goal. Their purpose is clear. The agenda is straightforward. Their motivation spelled out.
For most of us, the meaning of our life is much more illusive. But purpose is the innate driving force in our lives.
In the absence of a Transcendent Vision, we will adopt a less meaningful one. Soccer, despite what some fans and players might think, is not the true purpose of life. But it does point to our deep desire to find and pursue one.
By far, the most annoying thing about soccer is how much they flop on the ground and roll around like they just got electrocuted. Soccer games can be easily ruined by players who are trying to reach the goal by shortcut rather than ability.
Why do soccer players dive and act hurt? Because they are trying to manipulate the ref into giving them an advantage. They are relying on the authority to reach their purpose. It is the same tactic employed when the team ahead wastes time by flopping to the ground and getting the medical team onto the field.
We are all looking for shortcuts. Sometimes our purpose seems so far away we don’t think we can get there unless something exterior helps us. We try to control the game through manipulation and exaggeration. This is victim mentality and it can sabotage a life just as easily as it can ruin a soccer match.