In honor of the World Cup starting in a matter of days I am posting an article that isn’t related to financial literacy or investing. The reason is that we must have a passion outside of making money and building wealth. Ray Dalio the famous investor and founder of Bridgewater simplifies life into having meaningful work and meaningful relationships. The World Cup represents the latter for me. With that introduction the article below I wrote following my first ever trip to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa with my dad. I made a promise to myself after my experience in 2010 that I would never miss another one… unfortunately I did miss Brazil in 2014, but I’ll be back at the event this time in Russia with pops. In honor of the promise below is my article was written in 2010.
New Personal Goal: Never Miss Another World Cup.
My new goal may sound a little ridiculous, but attending the World Cup is the most unique and fun experience that anyone could have. Plain and simple. I have attended plenty of large sporting events in my past, from the ’09 World Series at Yankee stadium to arguably college football’s biggest rivalry game the Iron Bowl, and no disrespect, but nothing compares to the complete atmosphere that a World Cup brings to both soccer fans and non-fans alike. Whether you are there to watch games, or caught in the country by chance, the World Cup truly brings together people from all over the world like no other sporting event. You may say, well wait, what about the Olympics? I say to you, no, my friend. It pales in comparison to the World Cup. The World Cup takes place in multiple host cities across the host country. It is spread out where people from all over that nation have the ability to attend games. The Olympics is restricted to one host city. While London in 2012 may have had an Olympic fever, Manchester and Liverpool continued at their normal pace. It simply does not have the reach that the World Cup does.
Not only that, but the world’s most popular sport is being played. The hype and excitement that surrounds teams entering a World Cup is unimaginable. Players have the pressure to perform in front of the world and show off their abilities. The pride of nations rests on the shoulders of the players. It is not solely about individual performances, or how well your club team does, because in this tournament your team is your country. This puts that much more pressure on players and increases the enjoyment for the fans. As fans, you represent your country as well. You have a vested interest in not only supporting your team, but also representing your country because other nations’ fans will notice your behavior and how supportive you are. It is the only sporting event where fans compete as well as the players. The best part of the world cup is speaking with other countries’ fans and discussing your countries’ prospects. The unique group stage component creates extra excitement as fans predict every possible scenario for their team to go through. No matter where you are, a café, your hotel room, or doing something completely un-soccer related, it is all brought back to the World Cup. It is inescapable to leave the atmosphere that surrounds the World Cup. You CANNOT escape it. Now when you are at other major sporting events, once you get a certain distance from the stadium you can find people who do not care or are completely uninterested. This was the experience I had at both the World Series and Iron Bowl. You get out of the immediate excitement in the Bronx and you will find some uninterested tourists or New Yorkers going about their business. This does not happen in the World Cup. It is absolutely captivating and your endorphins will be running high the entirety of your trip. Sixty-four different matches crammed into 30 days, is enough to get an entire nation excited.
After a particularly enthralling match, you’ll hear “Oh did you see so-and-so’s goal?” “Who do you think will win it all?” World Cup fans are some of the cleverest and most resourceful. You will see the most unique costumes and ways of showing support. The most entertaining chants and songs are sung at World Cups. Never have I been inside a stadium so alive with every moment that happens on the field whether it was a thriller or an absolute blowout. Being in a stadium during a World Cup will change your life and it will be a high that you will crave again for the rest of your life. If you haven’t been, you must go. Whether soccer is your favorite sport, or you still cannot understand that damn offside rule. Book that trip to the next World Cup and see your country play. It will be the best vacation you will ever take.