Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The emotion of the beautiful game

Among all the "ugliness" that marred the end of the world cup finals, I think we need to remember what makes this tournament so special.

When I heard and saw the images of Trezeguet, obviously emotional during the celebration of the French run at the World Cup it captured what this means for the world (even for some in North America!).

I am sure there will be jokes about grown men crying over a kid's game, when they are all multi-millionaires. Or that the tears are for the endorsement potential unachieved, or for the fact that Trezeguet's club team might be dropped three divisions. But for those of us less cynical I think this exemplifies why billions of the world's citizens live the highs and lows ever 4 years. Unlike other sports, these players do not get payed by their national teams, their clubs pick up those tabs. Players put on their nation's kit to represent something bigger than their paychecks, shoe deals, endorsements, villas, cars etc. Football players wear the national team shirts with honor. I read somewhere that Adriano stated he would never think of turning his back on Brazil, in response to some US basketball players refusing to play for the US Basketball team at the Olympics. You hear players state that they dream of wearing their nation's jersey, many times they play hard in order to be fortunate enough to be selected for the national team, not to get their next big contract.

Trezeguet encapsulates the emotion that runs through players, fans and nations. Anyone who watched the English player's emotion after losing the shoot out to Portugal, Christiano Ronaldo's open tears after losing to France, Germany being crushed by two late Italian goals, the Argentinia players completely beside themselves after being mastered by Lehmann, and the list continues. This type of raw emotion is what makes the World Cup the greatest sporting event. 2 years of difficult qualifying which leads to a month of nail biting games. Only to see one team emerge with the trophy. Seeing Trezeguet's genuine emotion on the balcony of the Crillon truly encapsulates the meaning of the tournament. Only one nation gets to have crazy, joyous street celebrations, but all the others get to share in the emotion of the moment and pull together in the desire to return to the tournament and maybe be fortunate enough to also have the joyous street celebrations.

Trezegol will be back
Les Bleus will be back
Allez les Bleus

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