It’s here, the Fifa World Cup. Arguably the biggest extravaganza on this planet. The Quadrennial event that turns the most ignorant soul of this game (I’m one of them), if not a follower, then an inquisitive “Peeping Tom” at least. For the next ninety-nine days experts and novices alike, are going to passionately discuss each and everything about this game. The various formation strategies. The subs went wrong and the near miss goals. The cheats who fall intentionally like a three-year-old crying “He pushed me”. And most importantly the demi-gods who rise to the occasion, steal the last minute goals to the ear-splitting roars. The sound of which will be heard across the globe. And this game does all that in mere ninety-minutes of duration. It can’t get more action-packed than this.
The fact that Football fever can be seen even in a country like India is worth noticing. A country which has reduced sporting passions and dreams to a single sport called cricket, also immersing itself into this euphoria, demonstrates the power of this game. Even though we have conveniently forgotten that the game of Cricket is a legacy we have borrowed from a nation that ruled us mercilessly for two hundred years. Sucked every resource out of our country, reduced us to a country of slaves and when finally they decided to leave, left us broken and berated.
But this is not the point of this post.
The point is that the people like me who are as clueless about Football as when asked what is the capital of “Narau” (Yes, it’s a country – with a distinction of being one of the most obscure in the world) are also keeping a tab on the football news.
What’s more incredible is that this game has single-handedly brought attention to Russia. A country which lies behind the iron curtain of government censorship and strict media control. And which is mostly in news for wrong reasons more often than not.
So this shows that Fifa World Cup is not just a sporting event, but a festival of a scale so big that it breaks down every barrier that we clung to otherwise. The barriers of color and race and ethnicity, which country we belong to, what kind of clothes we wear, all of these and more.
All of these stop mattering for the next ninety-nine days. The cacophony of these differences dumbing down against the cheers and songs that this game evokes. For it is of no consequence which country we are supporting, or even if we are not supporting, we can’t escape this fever. We can’t help but become part of that Mexican wave that joins together disparate souls in a synchronized “rise” and “fall” that makes us a part of the bigger whole.
I hope if any extraterrestrial life is ever going to travel past by our planet and takes a peek at us, it would be this time, when the whole world is busy in this celebration of sportsmanship. As this is the time when we have forgotten our differences, hatred, and petty issues. When we are dancing all nights long and laughing our hearts out. Songs on our lips, and beer in our bellies. And we hug and shake hands without giving it a thought about who’s who, where we are, what are our backgrounds – and we speak one language – the language of football.
Also published on Medium.