Letter: I hope you all catch a match or two of the most beautiful game
In just a few days' time, the world will embark on a once-in-four-year opportunity to enjoy the world's most beautiful game. I vividly recall sitting in a sports bar in New York City on the 12th of July 1998 when the world stopped for two hours. In all my 16 years (and to this day), I had never seen anything like it--the passion, the emotion, the skill and the pride.
Les Bleus, the affectionate name for the French nation team, was the underdog against a far superior Brazilian squad. The magician, Zinedine Zidane, led les Bleus to victory. For those two hours, the world was simply captivated. The restaurant was silent except for when someone scored or came close. To this day, that game still influences me.
You see, soccer explains the world. If one examines Tifo closely, they will observe a microcosm of the world in every soccer game that is played at the professional level. Teams represent vivid histories, culture, economies, language, food, pride and to many, an identity. For me, I was heartbroken when the American team as well as Italians did not make the finals. But I will still be held captive to the sweet rhythms of the Brazilian offense, the speed of the Argentines and technical prowess of the Germans. Each team has its own style and tempo and for this.
We are entering the most special month of the quadrennial. As such, I will watch the tournament for its skill as well as the very best display of athleticism. I hope you have the opportunity to catch a match or two as well because there simply is no substitute for the beautiful game!
Leiman lives in Ada, Minn.