Over the past 30 days I have been captivated by the World Cup in Brazil. I have watched almost all the games from group play to eliminations to the final. Originally, I was only interested in watching our USA team play, but found myself entranced with the physical toughness, skill and endurance, and strategy of the world’s most popular sport. Now that it is over, I am inspired to get in shape, work harder, strive for bigger and better things and most importantly connect with more people.
I was not a huge fan of soccer before this year’s World Cup. In fact, if it were not for my new job at Time Warner Cable and being surrounded by sports nuts in the office, I would have easily continued my life without much soccer viewing. I was already working on my New Year’s resolution to drop my body fat to 10% and have been taking the stairs to and from the office (on the 12th floor), but since the World Cup started I have been running and going to the gym even more than usual. Watching these premier athletes sprint up and down a 120m x 90m field for over 90 minutes was exhausting and motivated me to push my workouts even harder. I was a triple jumper and football player (corner back) in high school and remember the grueling conditioning we did every day. But that was ages ago and while my memory is still good, my body is nowhere near the athletic condition of my youth. I plan to change that this year.
The World Cup only comes around once every 4 years. The countries and players have that many years to prepare themselves for the next World Cup in 2018. This year’s winner, Germany, came in third place in their previous two World Cups. The planning and preparation by the team and its players were years in the making and allowed them to enter this year’s World Cup as the favorites and eventually the winner. In our lives, whether business or personal, we need to have goals to strive for in the future. While we should not sacrifice the present for the future, it is important to realize that the present shapes the future. By working hard today and measuring your progress you will always get closer to your goals. I realize that I was adrift in my personal and professional life. I was settling for a good life instead of pursuing a great life. Watching these teams dedicate years to inch forward to try and win a World Cup is amazing and we should all be doing the same with our lives.
Finally, along with the amazing athletes, watching the World Cup on television made proud to be a world citizen. Sure, emotions ran high and low, people were angry, sad, disappointed and distraught as their team got eliminated. But at the same time, people were jubilant with expectation to see their team play, they celebrated as their team scored and cried tears of joy as their team won. The excellent coverage by ESPN showed people from all over the world in Brazil to watch the World Cup. Over 3.4 million tickets were sold and thousands more outside the stadium watched the games. Millions of people around the world were also watching, cheering, crying and celebrating. I found myself posting more than usual to my social media accounts and talking to friends, family and strangers about the World Cup. Even though I knew soccer was the world’s most popular sport, I did not understand why, but now I do. I plan to connect with even more people each day, week, month and year because events like the World Cup only serve as an example of how the world could be when people put aside their differences and share what they have in common.
I admit, there will be a void now that the games are over. I will watch the post game interviews and highlights until the media replaces them with something new. I will watch the season finale of “24: Live Another Day” on Monday and wait desperately for the NCAA football and NFL seasons to start. But in the back of my mind, for the next four years, I will be thinking about Team USA and the 2018 World Cup in Russia!