Thursday, June 10, 2010

My First World Cup (a late bloomer)

The day job has drawn my attention to the World Cup in a big way. I don’t remember it being even a blip on my screen four years ago (apparently Italy won), and now it’s front and center. I like the whole idea of it: teams across the world playing each other. Kinda makes our World Series seem badly named.

And don’t get me started about the New York Times calling the matches soccer instead of football. Do they really think that Americans would mistake this June/July event for the NFL if we joined the WORLD and called it football? Can’t we feel part of Team Earth even once?

But I’ll focus on the positive, the skill of the world athletes and global country pride. First match is the home team South Africa (pictured above) vs. Mexico, followed by Uruguay and France.

Saturday is USA v. ENGLAND! Woo hoo! The colonies coming against the old mother country on the field of sport.

The Paley Center in New York and Los Angeles is showing the matches for FREE on the big screen. If you’re in either city, come on down. There is also an exhibit of photos from the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour through the African continent by artist/photographer Joseph Peter in both cities along with African art and artifacts to bring some of the artistic soul of the continent to the viewing experience.

K’naan sings the official World Cup theme song, Waving Flag, which is very, very catchy. It’s been posted by multiple sources on Youtube.

Here’s a quick look at the number of views:
CBC studio recording, 4 million views; Video with David Bisbal, 2 million; AM-TV upload, 3 million; some German upload, 3.5 million; Offical Arabic Video, with Nancy Ajram, 1.1 million; a version that shows all 32 flags, 1.4 million; not even counting the videos with only hundreds of thousands.

I love thinking about all those millions of people, united for a short time, by the positive force of competitive sport.


Tim Footman said...

Always think it's a big mystery how the USA is so good at cultural export (music, movies, food, IT) with the huge exception of sports. Go to one of the bootleg markets anywhere in Asia and they're piled high with American CDs and DVDs; but the knock-off sports shirts bear the names of Rooney, Drogba, Messi, Xavi; they might have a LeBron James round the back, if you ask specially. Yao Ming is big, but Beckham is waaay bigger.

M.A.Peel said...

You're right. Our sports guys' appeal ends at the waters edge.