As a Jewish American I felt somewhat guilty focusing my attentions to the triviality of the World Cup. My guilt made me pause before posting anything about my excitement and enjoyment surrounding the efforts of The Netherlands in this year’s tournament. Yes I paused, as I did not wish to be insensitive to the harsh realities facing all of us, but in the end I rationalized or justified my decision, not all will agree on which one it is, and chose to enjoy Holland’s World Cup victory. It made me question the morality of putting importance on those things that clearly do not hold the same importance as our most pressing personal and communal issues.
There are some events or activities no one questions as important nor do they question the joy these events bring to individuals and families. Weddings, childbirth, recovery from illness, even special moments with friends and family, are all occurences no one ever disputes as important. Sure there are people who have emotional issues that may prevent them from getting joy from these moments, but as a general rule people agree that all of these things are important and therefore should bring one joy, even when surrounded by unpleasant realities.
I am one of those people who believes life is made up of moments. Many are good, many are bad. Unfortunately the bad moments seek us out, finding us without mercy or timing. The good moments sometimes do the same, just not with the same persistence. I am not being negative in this statement, merely realistic. I am also using it as a springboard to make the point I wish to make. The moments in life that bring us pleasure, the movies we love, the meals we savor, and yes the sporting events that thrill us, are the moments we need to seek out. These moments fuel us, strengthen us, and yes indeed, even if only momentarily,can make us happy. Brasil is a nation struggling with discontent and yet it comes together in excitement to celebrate the FIFA 2014 World Cup. Do I believe the World Cup matters when mothers are mourning the murders of their teenage sons? Of course I don’t. But I also know that the day will come when they may turn to something as unimportant as a soccer match to bring them some needed joy. Not today, but when the time is right. Maybe that is why we sometimes call our athletes heroes. Not because they live by higher standards, but because they sometimes give people a very necessary respite from the more difficult moments in life.
Just take a moment to think about how much better the world could be if everyone worried a little bit more about those things so many deem as unimportant.