For years, I was never into the World Cup. Even when the U.S. was in it back in 2014, I watched and then watched the U.S. get eliminated. The World Cup only held my interest for a brief moment in time.
This year, something changed. I became invested in the World Cup and the U.S. is not even in it.
Why did this suddenly happen?
Is it because of my recent travels? Maybe. But I’ve been traveling for years and I know that Football (Soccer in the U.S.) is the most popular sport in the world, but I still wasn’t bit from that particular bug.
Photo: Haraldur Gudjonsson
On a recent trip to Iceland, I learned that their national football team would actually make the World Cup for the first time in history. So, looking for them in the World Cup, I became intrigued. I finally watched with interest. I admired the enthusiastic Iceland fans with their blue painted faces, mostly designed like the Iceland flag. I watched them pound their viking helmets and scream encouragement to their team.
Then I noticed every team’s fans did. Then I noticed how many different fans from different countries attended the events in Russia. Everyone and every team member as passionate as the next. Something I really don’t see to that extreme extent in the U.S. sports.
I was hooked. I became so engrossed on the spectacle, emotions and athletic ability on these guys running the ball.
Fans of Mexico celebrate with Han Byung Jin, General Consul of the Republic of Korea
I admired the Mexico fans as they honored the South Koreans for eliminating Germany. The coolest thing ever. In a very unique time in the world, the World Cup looked to be something that could bring everyone together, no matter the politics or prevailing issues affecting any individual country.
As it relates to travel, I was just reminded of the countries that I haven’t been to yet or ones that I would like to return to. Maybe even search for a ball club I could follow and be even more interested in. Then make it a reality to travel to a destination and watch a live game and join in the revelry of the sport. Heck, I might even make an adventure out if it, travelling country to country to find “my” team. Not sure how long I can wait on the U.S. to get back in it.
Now, Get Lost!!!