Some of you who know me know now I’m a big soccer fan. Some of you who have known me for a while may find this surprising.
Whatever the past, I’m here in the present–and I enjoy soccer immensely now that I’ve taken it on its own terms. And I am most certainly looking forward to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
In case you hadn’t heart, the USA qualified. And in case you hadn’t heard, they drew a tall order in their group–known as the Group of Death. Here’s how this works:
First, they are one team out of 32 that qualified from around the world. Each of these 32 are put into eight groups of four. Brazil, the host country, automatically qualified, but they would have anyway–they are part of my Final Four pick.
In the group stage, each team plays each other once in various locations. In our group, we (the USA) drew Portugal (the #2 team in the world, according to FIFA–and who has Cristian Ronaldo, whom most people would recognize even if they don’t follow the sport), Germany (the #3 team in the world–also in my final four), and Ghana (a thorn in the side of recent World Cups for the USA).
How are the USA in the World rankings? #13. Not bad, especially for us. Yet, those are rankings based upon a number of factors, few of those factors have to do with head-to-head competition. So we won’t really know how the USA will fare until they take the field (called a pitch in soccer world) against Ghana on June 16th. And given that they have to travel over 8,800 miles for their three games in Brazil–well, I just hope their stamina and conditioning are what they need to be.
Now, you say, “I’m an American! What hath soccer to do with America? It’s not a real sport unless you use your hands! We’re about scoring (basketball and football) and American tradition (baseball).” I get it. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.
But even if you’re not into soccer, you can use the World Cup as a way to open your eyes to the rest of the world.
With this, I turn your attention to an article I wrote for the Burgundy Wave, a Colorado Rapids blog for whom I started writing about a month ago. The title of the article is, “Five Ways to Enjoy the World Cup–Some of Which Involve Soccer.” During the World Cup, you will come across countries about whom we may not normally consider. We will hear about their situations, their culture, their music, their history. We can delve into some of their cuisine.
And, we can know that over 500 million people will be watching those games.
It’s a world event.
As believers, we can most certainly be praying and thinking about these countries. So, my aim is to put out a prayer post for each of these countries over 32 days, starting when Brazil and Croatia start things off on Thursday, June 12 at 4:00 pm EST.
So again, consider the five ways, then consider praying for these countries–and get to know them a little better. It may open your eyes to a world that needs Christ and needs you to show them.