The Best and Worst Things About FIFA World Cup

The Fans

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THE BEST PART: No fans like to slap the shit out of their car horn more than World Cup fans after a victory. If not abusing the car horn, they are going evil step-dad all over their livers. Pubs are overflowing with drunkards in the middle of the day. Have you seen anything more beautiful? What’s more amazing, is that with timezone differences many of these fans are required to play hooky to do the aforementioned abusing. Easily though, the coolest part is that this madness is happening on a global scale. Sports are a powerful beast, my friend.

THE WORST PART: During a World Cup game, fans are building up an intense energy. In victory, this energy is reserved for hugging, high-fiving, wandering the streets aimlessly making noise, or creating poorly choreographed victory dances. In defeat, because of copious amounts of alcohol and stupidity, this energy is often spent face punching the fans of the opposing team, hurling bricks through windows, and setting fires to all that is flammable. These are reactions similar to those seen when people try to overthrow a government, but hey, let’s throw a fit because a bunch of dudes weren’t able to kick a ball around as effectively as another bunch of dudes.

National Pride

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THE BEST PART: Let’s face it, World Cup is how we are able to identify a majority of flags. It is how we know Cameroon is a country and not a tiny round cake made with coconut. Nationalism will turn even the most disinterested sports fans into face painting fanatics. The coolest part is that this event unites the planet. Sure, it’s kind of sad that something more important can’t unite the world, but beggars can’t be choosers folks.

THE WORST PART: Unfortunately, with national pride at a high, racism and hatred also run rampant during World Cup. Discussion of old political conflicts and wars are rehashed; racist jokes and stereotypes are thrown around recklessly, and some of the joy brought by this event are stripped away by the ignorant actions of others. Keep it clean folks.

Tradition

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THE BEST PART: Football (or soccer) has remained largely unchanged since The World Cup began. Young and old alike can relate to the game because so little has changed. Generations are brought together to watch a graceful spectacle of athletic artwork display itself upon a canvas of grass. The game, for the most part, is played by the same rules regardless of what continent you play it on. You might say football is a universal language, although if you’ve ever been lost in a foreign country speaking football probably won’t help very much.

THE WORST PART: A sport too deeply rooted in tradition becomes its own worst enemy. In The World Cup elimination rounds a game cannot end in a tie, thus a certain amount of extra time is followed by penalty kicks. Roughly 77% of penalty kicks are goals, with about 3% missing the net, and 3% hitting the post (according to this source). This leaves only a 17% chance for the goalie to save the ball. What this does is maximize the amount of luck required to settle the game and turn a team game into a one on one sport, which is puzzling after spending over two hours trying to settle the game with skill. It’s really the laziest way to settle a game: dude, just let them kick it from right in front of the net and see which team fucks up more. A simple change could make it better, but it’s probably one we will never see because getting soccer to change is harder than trying to get me to change out of my pajamas on a Sunday.

The Athletes

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THE BEST PART: The are so many iconic names and faces in football. More than any other sport, these faces are known throughout the world. Consider how many people play football globally, and how good you have to actually be to stand out among so many people. The talent some of these players have is simply unbelievable and a lot of fun to watch in competitive games. Even if that players is punishing your team, try to enjoy that individual’s mastery of the sport … or continue to throw irrational, ignorant insults in their direction. Your choice.

THE WORST PART: When football players realized the outcome of games were often decided by penalties, they started falling a little easier. Because diving was and still is being largely rewarded and rarely punished, players are conditioned to keep doing it and doing it and doing it well. The problem is that talent to play is often overshadowed by the talent to roll around on the floor clutching your ankle. The onus cannot be put on the players to stop diving as they are simply doing their job, which at the end of the day is to win. No, the onus must be put on the league to crack down on these infractions and restore the athletes’ and sport’s reputation, where the players are compared to babies who are tired, hungry, or without their blankie. Until then, do not be surprised when your team loses because the other team is simply better at acting. Unfortunately, sometimes the better divers win.

Cheers to seeing a lot more of the best parts and very little of the worst parts of World Cup.

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