5 Things We Can Learn From The World Cup

Belgium v USA: Round of 16 - 2014 FIFA World Cup BrazilThe entire globe has been obsessed with the World Cup, so I decided to look at a few things we can take away from it. Here are 5 things we can learn from the FIFA games.

1. Change can be good.

It comes to no surprise that this could potentially be the best World Cup thus far. With a 16 billion US dollar expenditure, Brazil has set the record as the most expensive game so far in FIFA’s history. Their costs are almost equal to the last 3 World Cups put together! They have also brought along new technology to the games. This has been the very first World Cup to use Goal-Line Technology. Whenever the ball crosses the line, the referee receives a vibration on his watch to alert him of the definite goal.

All of these changes are great for the game, but they can also inspire some questions to ask ourselves. Are we changing? If so, are these changes improvements or are they hindrances? Are we spending too much money or using it wisely in the lives of others and ourselves? Last but not least, are we using the tools at hand in the most productive way possible? Change is good as long as we keep our values and grow everything around us.

2. Failure does not mean stop.

The USA team had 2 heart-wrenching losses at the end of the World Cup, but they did not lose in vain. The first, against Germany, was a hard game, but confirmed that we could defeat the “Group of Death.” Because Portugal won against Ghana, the US team was able to advance, proving that nothing is ever over. Their loss was still a victory and helped settle the uneasy hopeless feeling in many of the fans and players. The second loss, against Belgium, sent the US team home. Although it was the end to their run in the 2014 World Cup, life goes on. People our hopeful for an incline in soccer funding, popularity, and support here in the states as the US and Portugal game alone brought in 18.22 million viewers. The Belgium game came close, but fell at 16.49 million views.

A spike in ratings on both the internet and the television prove that things will grow and change in the United States soccer world. We may not have won, but we are so much closer to the next one. Perhaps this spike in interest will supply us with the right amount of fans and talent needed for next time. As Samuel Beckett said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Failure never means to stop or give up. It means to push forward and try again. The games did not end the way we would have wanted, but we still reap positive things from it. Always be hopeful, because you never know when you might have to be.

3. God can work in the most unique ways.

Have you heard of Tim Howard? Read about him, researched him, seen him? If not, you definitely need to. Tim Howard is the amazing goalkeeper for the United States team. We might have lost, but we did not go down without a fight. In the Belgium game alone, Howard set the record by making 16 saves in one game! It even sparked a twitter hashtag called #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave where people would photoshop him into different movie scenes. He took the world by storm, and it could possibly mean the world to him. So, what is the big deal about this? Besides incredible talent, what else does he have?

Tim Howard is a devout Christian who also happens to have Tourette’s Syndrome. With tics that happen consistently through the day, it is miraculous for Tim to be in the games. It even gets worse on the field! Large crowds and import games can help his symptoms flare more noticeably. The amazing thing is that when a striker gets closer and is ready to attack, his muscles calm completely. He has talked with numerous healthcare officials, but none of them have any idea as to why something like this happens. It is truly miraculous. Tim Howard once said for an interview, “Today, I am blessed to be living a dream. And yet, if it all went away tomorrow, I know I would still have peace. That probably sounds crazy to most people, but that’s the kind of peace Christ gives. It is rooted in His love, and it surpasses all understanding. You can experience this same sense of love and peace, too. All you have to do is ask for it.” Just as God gives peace to Tim’s syndrome, He also gives him the understanding of what this life is for. God can work in the most unique ways, and sometimes it can be the most obvious way. How is He working in your life?

4. Sometimes one more step is too far.

In the game of soccer, offsides is a huge problem. The professionals deal with it a lot easier than we do, but amateur players and fans can sometimes grow ill with the rule. What is offsides? It is when a player receives a ball when he is closer to his opponents’ goal than the second-last defender and the ball itself. It is very easy to fall into the offsides position, and it can sometimes be by just a few feet!

How often do we step ahead in our lives? Sometimes where we plan to be is not the same place God has for us in His plan. We are offsides in our relationships, goals, and expectations. Sometimes one step can be too much! We need to take a few steps back and realign ourselves. God has boundaries in our lives, so we must evaluate our positions and make sure we are where God wants us to be. Am I ready to strike and do whatever it takes or am I in a trial of waiting?

5. Different people will be treated differently.

People have always and will always be mad at referees. “They must have paid off the refs.” “They have the home field advantage.” “How did they not see that?!” Those statements are just a few of the many you will hear from soccer fans this week. Games may never be fully accurate, but, even if they were, they would still be deemed unfair. A quick look at any tweet will reveal that people find the wrong in anything called by another person. It does not matter how good of a player or referee you are, it will always be unfair.

Live to be questioned. As Christians, we are supposed to live our lives in radical ways. We are to be the Bible that people will read and to be like Christ our only Savior. Are you living in such a way that people question it? If not from a Christian perspective, are you different in any other way? People will find that your behavior is wrong, strange, or even unfair, but you must stay strong. Like a confident ref, you must know that you are doing the right thing. People who act different will always be treated differently. Are you prepared for your ruling?

As this list ends, I hope you will dwell on some of these lessons. It took a lot longer than I had anticipated to write this, but I guess it is only suitable for me to go into extra time! Enjoy the World Cup and see what else you can learn from it. We can learn something from everything, whether it be a movie, tv show, or a soccer game. What have you learned?

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