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A connected nation

Perhaps a little out of order in the series, I would like to take a moment to jump ahead to discussing connection, as this day is a day many are coming together in fellowship and common interest to support the USA soccer team for a World Cup performance that will hopefully take the team to previously unseen territory. Now, there are many who couldn't care less about soccer, and may wonder what a sports game has to do with connection, much less bettering community or society. Let me wholeheartedly express my perception that team-sports, clubs, hobbies, etc. are wonderful ways for people to find connection and learn to appreciate, interact, and understand each other in ways they may otherwise never attempt or accomplish.

I played soccer in a time and place in the rural South where soccer was fairly unknown, at best. Many who knew it thought it was a weak and senseless sport. However, for we few who found love for this sport, we also found a sense of comradery unrivaled by other experiences in our respective lives. To this day, I maintain some of the friendships formed and strengthened through participation in this globally recognized, ever-growing team sport.

As I read articles, watch TV, listen to radio, and see postings throughout the community, I am amazed and warmheartedly gratified by the joining of communities across this country, in support of our national futbol team. In a way, they symbolize the story of what is still good about this country. An underappreciated group of individuals who came together to form a union have overcome the odds to be recognized as a serious entity in this world with passion and perseverance for a unified desired outcome. Corporate suits, blue collar laborers, stay-at-home parents, children, and retirees alike are coming together in support of the US national soccer team, conjoining in pubs, restaurants, living rooms, and stadiums to cheer on the team. Within these gatherings, a deeper, perhaps less obvious occurrence is also happening. People who wouldn't always necessarily find commonality or even purposefully come together in a social setting are finding themselves having fun, interacting, and connecting. Now, we people of the US are known to rally together in times of need; most often in response to tragedy. How amazing and liberating for all of us to come together in a time of celebration and excitement when there is no heart ache or sorrow (other than the occasional goals scored against the US team)!

Another endearing and interesting positive consequence of the World Cup is the opportunity to see how other cultures around the world come together. I always enjoy the dances, chants, songs, and community cheers as countries wave their respective colors in support of their teams. I'd like to think that if people can come together in a healthy way to play and watch a game, then maybe there is hope for healthy communication among cultures and people with differences on a much larger scale.

So, take your long lunch breaks. Go socialize when you may otherwise choose to remain in isolation. Find common interests and love for your fellow men and women as we support the hopeful victory of our US national soccer team.

Image by Chris Creamor.


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