The 2010 World Cup: Why Should I Care?

Sara is a 16-year old writer from New Jersey.  In her free time she enjoys watching and playing soccer, reading, and shopping.  Her favorite soccer player is Cristiano Ronaldo and her favorite team is Manchester United.

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The World Cup, for the majority of the world, is the biggest of spectacles.  People of all races, cultures, and beliefs come together and celebrate their love of soccer—or football as it is more widely known.  Truly a sight to behold, people from all corners of our planet can come together to compete.  While the competition is fierce, physical, and enthralling, the people of every nation really are united—for one month—in their love for the sport.  The World Cup, particularly this year, is a sight to behold and more relevant to the average American citizen than one might think.

South Africa barely two decades ago was still divided and separated under apartheid.  Yet, the World Cup of 2010, truly marks their transformation into a united country and honors the efforts of those who worked for it—notably Nelson Mandela who was the missing guest of honor at the opening match.  Yet, it is not only the people of South Africa who are no longer divided.  Africa, as a continent, was able to successfully the Confederations Cup just months prior to the World Cup under intense scrutiny.  Having succeeded, the World Cup is now underway, as 32 nations from South America, Europe, Oceania, North America, and Africa are united in a genuine love for the world’s most popular sport, yet also ready to risk everything for victory.  Truly, the World Cup is a spectacle of the most rare sort: the entire world really has united in South Africa this summer.

But, on a less grand note, the World Cup is fraught with controversy both on and off the field; it is certain to entertain everyone who is watching.  The female viewers will certainly enjoy the fine masculine specimens of certain players; namely, Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Steven Gerrard (England), Yoann Gourcouff (France), Carlos Bocanegra (USA), and countless others.  In other words, the players are incredibly attractive.  The athleticism on display at the 2010 World Cup cannot be beaten—and neither can those who embody it.  Male viewers will be encouraged to watch by remembering that men and women can hardly be separated: where there is an attractive man there will also be attractive women.  The WAGs (wives and girlfriends) of the soccer players in Europe are notorious for making the headlines just as often as the game highlights.  But, the same athleticism and sheer physical ability display at the World Cup will not be lost on men.  Rather, it will be appreciated (maybe even more) for what it truly is: the sporting event most recognized through out the world.

But the players and their physical attributes are not the only controversial aspects of the World Cup.  Vuvuzelas, colored horns that make a sound not unlike the buzzing of bees, are the subject of much debate.  The loud noises, audible even through television speakers, are distracting to players, referees, and managers.  That said, the vuvuzela is a cultural cornerstone of South Africa and banning it would be akin to banning hot dogs and peanuts at a baseball game.  The head of FIFA, soccer’s governing body, has spoken against banning it, but other notable figures have expressed wishes to the contrary.  The French captain, Patrice Evra, even blamed his team’s poor performance on the “irritating” buzzing.

Overall, the World Cup is something everyone should watch, or at least be exposed to.  Whether you watch it because it is the confluence of culture and people, the men on display are simply delightful, you admire the athletic prowess on display or are simply enraptured by the controversy, all that really matters is that you watch such an extraordinary event.  The 2010 World Cup is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and watching such a spectacle is a true privilege.

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