Yesterday I watched with millions of others as Germany relentlessly destroyed Brazil’s hopes of entering the World Cup soccer finals. Never has a team in World Cup history been beaten so badly, let alone Brazil that had not lost a match on their home turf since 1975. The outcome was beyond comprehension, because when you get to this level of play, teams simply don’t just fall apart.
MAKING SENSE OF THIS HISTORIC LOSS?
For a while I listened to the expert announcers offer their opinions, but honestly, I felt none of them really said what I was hoping to hear – that this loss needed to happen. Not because of anything the team did or did not do, but because Brazilians have lost their way.
It’s like watching 200 million people ensconced in a case of dissociative identity disorder.” Morris Dalla Costa – The London Free Press
As Brazil plays host to the world at an estimated $10 billion dollars…
- A third of the population live in significant poverty
- Deforestation in the world’s preeminent Amazon Rain Forest continues (check out the link for incredible aerial images)
- Citizens live in fear due to the highest homicide rate in three decades
- Brazilians abuse more cocaine second only to the U.S.
Perhaps it’s because of these issues that Brazilians have immersed themselves in soccer as a type of religion. None of these problems have easy or simple solutions. For the average Brazilian, kicking a ball around is likely better than walloping in a state of helplessness.
But at some point Brazilians have to awaken to what is most important in life. Kicking a ball around will not address the seven irreducible needs of children, protect endangered species, or end addiction. The loss – while heart wrenching for the country – is a tremendous blessing in disguise!
Brazilians should of course not give up on soccer, they are among the greatest players in the world. But perhaps it’s time to frame the game within the broader context of life, and find a way to constructively use this loss to rally the country in ways that lead to big wins both on and off the field.