Sunday, 1 August 2010

FIFA-foe-fum

waka waka everyone!
Emirates Parent Plus. August 2010

Never mind the many fouls and unsavoury tactics that dotted the World Cup, and let’s just wait and watch if technology will ever lend a third eye across the line and post, but it was the actual ‘football’ that came as a problem to many. England’s Robert Green blamed it for the mess he made of that shot with USA in their very first match and at the end of the deal, Jabulani has more than a few questions to tackle. For the wrong reasons, there will be some others too, who won’t be forgotten soon.


And then there are those that will be remembered, fondly, for much longer. Ask psychic octopus Paul, I’m certain he will concur. Though, I must admit, I suspect our clam-eating soothsayer par excellence, had eight hands full of patriotism influencing his predictions. Should he last beyond the expected lifetime of his species, the cephalopod might well be consulted again, to the cheer of many. From India, Pappu the parrot and even Chandoo, a friend’s canine, share this pride of place among fortune tellers that can justify the ‘I told you so’ look that shines their coat.


Truly, there have been stories galore to make this World Cup unforgettable for more than the actual sport. The 20 feet banners of Ronaldo and Messi were taken down only recently from my son’s school buildings, but the FIFA 2010 football has been etched variously in his art book.They even held an inter-house football season out-of-turn at the school, with Shakira successfully distracting even the most studious non-participator. No one complained – if anything, feverish football quizzes have become the mainstay at school-runs and any breaks during the day. And more, what my son knows about South Africa now, goes much beyond what any category of pure ‘game’ statistics will ever enthuse.


The virulent passion this game has evoked across the world! As a single force, enthusiasts cheered for their favourite teams, many times not of their own nation, and many times, interchanging loyalty in favour of the better side. It has been a true forum for global assimilation of culture and awareness.


In today’s world peppered with a multitude of faiths, lifestyles and opportunities, quite often, passions intensify to the degree of fanaticism. We have seen this with cricket and the FIFA 2010 has shown this to be even truer of football. It didn’t matter that most countries don’t even have FIFA level teams! The best sides were rooted for and absenteeism was credited to hilarious reasons. It didn’t matter what clan, what sect, which side of the border or what nationality one belonged to, here was a common denominator everyone knew at least something about.


For a short while, the entire world’s population had become a single citizenry of the ‘Republic of Football’. The only voice heard was of a passion for winning and enthralling in the joy of the winner.


Call it naiveté, but as the mother of a young child and as part of a society that holds harmony dear, I wonder why it is such an impossible task to bring people together under common banners like this, that entertain, captivate and harbour a oneness that is affected by no other factor but sheer love.


Here, the love was for a sport, but the passion was for the best play. Irrespective of colour and gene, wave upon wave of cheer rose at every stellar tackle, accurate Prophet Paul got huge affection and stirring local music became a world anthem.


That’s where the real appeal of this tournament lay for me. A World Cup that gave us as big heroes off the field as on it – and so much to feel good as one people of the common world – leaves a gamut of passionate conversations that will keep the 127 decibel vuvuzela droning in our souls for a long time to come. Well done Spain. But better done, football.