Why oh why do I constantly find myself writing on this blog about sports, when I’m not even a sports fan? Sports, as I have repeatedly said, are not my thing. But it’s World Cup time around the globe and at my house. Soccer up to my eyeballs. Upon reflection, here’s why it’s not so bad.
Math: Field of 32, two from each group so 16 move on, then reduce to 8, three points for a win, one for a tie, etc. We’re discussing math through sports around here, just like we have been since John went to his first basketball game. But now it includes phrases like “point differential.”
Geography: Before World Cup, I’m not sure if John would have been able to locate Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana or Honduras on a map. Now I’m pretty sure he has a fairly decent idea about where all of those are. The world is big, and he’s seeing a lot more of it right now.
Strategic thinking: The boy has told me, at length and multiple times, what the scenarios are for the potential elimination of the United States and how they might get out of their group. This involves not only the U.S. games (including point differential) but everyone else’s as well. I have no idea if he’s right, but it sounds impressive.
Sportsmanship: There’s been a good bit of discussion around faking injury, flopping dramatically, etc. We see it from the teams we’re cheering for and the teams we’re not. It’s probably not a bad way to illustrate good and bad sportsmanship, although I hope the message that’s sinking in isn’t “everybody does it sometimes.”
Bonding: Father and son, jumping up and down, yelling and cheering. Enough said.
And finally, my favorite:
Free time: When the men in my life want to watch soccer eating sandwiches in front of the t.v., that basically spells a vacation for me. No hot meals for a month? Olé, Olé, Olé!
photo credit: joe shlabotnik