The World Cup is in full swing and is commandeering the attention of both adults and children alike. Each day the group stages feature two or three matches that take up the whole afternoon and engage everyone’s attention. Children, in particular, sit enraptured with their favourite superstars. You don’t need to be a fan of a particular team to appreciate football, even though it helps – you can watch it just for the game, the love of it, or perhaps to see how matches unfold, like a sports drama. How your team – or the team you support – does, is not necessarily affected by your wins, even though it helps. If you win a few and lose a few, then your fate is dependent on the other teams in your group – which is why you will probably watch them too.
With the football game having such an impact on a short space of time, it is no wonder that kids have an emotional connection with what they see on screen, and may be affected with what they have viewed, whether consciously or subconsciously. If they viewed the Champions League game last month where Sergio Ramos tackled Mo Salah in order to take him out of the game, and escaped unpunished, they may have assimilated the message that is okay to play physical, and to win at all costs. Is this the message that we want to imbibe our kids with? It is finding a balance between teaching them to be tough, and teaching them to dish out physical play, and everyone draws the line in different places.
One of the most inspiring games was the Germany vs South Korea game. On paper, the defending champions were stronger, but the South Koreans displayed that tenacity, confidence and the will never to give up fighting that they ground out a 2-0 shock win. The Germans, who had triumphed previously, were perhaps a little too reliant on past reputations and might have thought that alone would have been enough. Some may question whether Neuer’s actions sabotaged his team’s chances, like the conductor, pianist and music composer Antonio Salieri sabotaged Mozart’s, but nevertheless it was an inspiring game because it can teach our children you should never take anything for granted, your past reputation counts for nothing, and if you keep trying and working hard, you can achieve a good result.
New ideas can arise from the old. Germany is in a transitional stage, bridging the old with the new, and maybe from the ashes of this team a new improved one will arise.
Enjoy the rest of the World Cup everyone!