If you’ve been spending the last month watching 22 men chasing a little ball around a green pitch, then you’re not alone. I along with millions of others have also been captivated by the World Cup Tournament. Today the German team appears in the media as World Champions, holding the funny looking gold trophy above their heads. Throughout the tournament, players and their fans have been photographed crying, laughing, beaming, broken, angry, despondent, and joyful. What is this global emotion all about?
After the final match, my husband and I watched a flustered journalist attempt to interview the German team captain. The reporter could barely put two words together, he was so overwhelmed with emotion. All these feelings with nowhere to go. We look to our national teams for courage, determination, skill and stamina and we bemoan their defeat. The team carries so much more for us collectively as we wave our flags, paint our faces, and wrap ourselves in the designated colors. Now that it’s all over, what will we do?
We might think about our need for outer heroes and heroines (the latter are sorely lacking in football), and how they reflect our personal heroes inside us. All our football players are holding the higher qualities that we long for in ourselves. Perhaps we too are seeking courage and persistence in our own daily struggles along with joy and elation in our own personal triumphs.
Now is the time to try and integrate the feelings that bubbled up during the tournament and make them more our own. For example, I found myself consistently sad at the end of any game, identifying with the losers, wishing everyone could be a winner. What does that say about me? I often criticize myself for not being good enough, a failure, insignificant in this whirlwind called life. But the reality is, I too am a winner in my own way, through my own small everyday battles, sometimes creeping along inch-by-inch with the persistence, faith, and stamina of the best footballer. And when I am successful, I often shy away from the limelight, almost afraid of standing firmly in the winner’s circle.