Spain won, Netherlands lost and though the lot of us cheered or wept. Though very few amongst us were true supporters of either team, one could nary find an empty seat on Sunday night. This is the power of the phenomenon that is the World Cup. For the majority of the population(especially the testosterone based population), our schedules have been revolving around game times. People who were previously unable to remember their wedding anniversaries or children’s birthdays managed to map out 64 games over 30 days and squeeze them in between their regular lives. Because, as a friend of mine wisely said to his wife, “I fell in love with the World Cup before I even met you.”
Cold words, true sentiment. But now that the tournament is over and the vuvuzelas are no longer abuzz, one has to wonder…what next?
Well, there’s at least one week’s worth of residual water cooler chatter to discuss past games and speculate on the next cup. But after that, most faux-fans will retire their jerseys and hang up that false pride with their Hallowe’en costumes. For the rest, it’s a countdown to Club Football seasons. For South Africans and die-hard fans, it’s clean up time; whether that entails rearranging the living room & folding away flags or cleaning up the streets and readjusting to normal schedules. Either way, lives will change.
What we can take away from this is a positive change. For all the naysayers, doubters, non-believers, and skeptics; Africa hosted a spectacular World Cup without incident and we went toe-to-toe with the best and nearly tore them down. Granted, not a whole lot of progress was made by any of our teams. However, we have seen growth, promise and potential; more importantly, we’ve raised interest. We’ve got the world’s eye staring at us in a new light. It’s still our time to shine. And now that the spotlight is off the field, let’s see if we can excel outside it.
POSTSCRIPT: No sooner had I written this did I read this. Prayers go out to those injured and killed..