I did not watch the World Cup soccer game between Brazil and Germany, but I have been unable to escape the media coverage of the 7-1 “record-setting” football event, including photos on the front page of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal of Brazilian flag color decorated fans in various expressions of mourning as if someone, yes, a real person, near and dear, had just died. On one of the television channels I saw thick tears running as if in slow motion granted by nature making their way down on one side alone of a Brazilian woman’s face.
I have to confess I did not explore in any deeper way that particular game nor read about what likely must have to do with nationalistic pride or maybe even part of the psyche that soccer constitutes in Brazil, and apparently much of the rest of the soccer ball, I mean globe, of which America is one part.
It is not that I am an Ugly American who pooh-poohs soccer, though I must say Ann Coulter’s recent verbal match against and on the sport was an entertaining read, no matter what your politics are, but it is interesting that soccer appears to have to do with politics no matter how we wish to think that sports can be a borderless and uniting force. For all the laudatory and civil praises about how nice it is when persons across the globe get together and compete in sports, the notion is usually marred by attention given to hooligans or others who turn the actual sporting event into a blood sport once the winds of scoring do not fill their sails full speed ahead.
Politics, money, the usual fight about who controls the money bag are by now an expected and, unfortunately, almost accepted condition in sports in America, including college sports. If you have lived in the South and in Texas, as I have, you know if a choice had to be made between religion and football even many diehard Baptists would be tempted and reach for their Bibles to try to find the right passage to lead them to Jerry Jones Stadium. So the triumvirate of money, politics, and religion rules when it comes to sports.
What I have found to be interesting about the rule of sports, especially our American college football, is how many vocal fans rally around college teams, even if those fans have not attended one of the colleges or any, completed high school, or have just a few years of secondary education between their ears.
What is it about college sports that rallies people so? That, I am sure is answered somewhere by scholarship or will be answered by readers of this column.
What I really would like an answer to is how do we get people to rally behind education? When will the masses, the soccer mob, the football tailgaters begin to shed tears or raise fists taking pride in education and how students perform, when students are winners, or if they are losing.
Where is the go-to zeal of “Just Do It” with the understood notion that to do it well must be an important part of academics, that’s right, academics.
Go education! Or is the stadium empty today?