Today is the day that the world begins to tune in to an amazing sports spectacle! Years of playing and coaching the “Beautiful Game” is a testament to a lifelong passion. Now, we all have different passions…one of mine just happens to be soccer, the real FUTBOL! You know where I’ll be this afternoon. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this day is my Sabbath Day and I couldn’t imagine spending it any other way on this, the opening day of World Cup 2014.
Why do I love this game. I love the creativity of each individual player combined with the camaraderie of a team. Many don’t understand how teams can play 90 minutes and end in a tie and often ask how one enjoys such a low scoring affair. For me there is a fluidity in the game that separates itself from other sports and there is a level of skill that is required which is unique. I began playing at the age of 6 and continue to play as often as I have the chance. Over the next month, I will be watching as many matches as possible, with hopes of some brilliant goals and watching the world’s best compete!
I was able to celebrate with our boys in the Red, White and Blue last October as they capped off their world cup qualification with a W in Kansas City over The Reggae Boyz of Jamaica. In 2012, I attended the Hexagon qualifying match against Guatemala and all I can say is the love for the game is alive here in the States! It was in 1994 when I attended my first ever professional soccer match in Chicago, a World Cup Match between Greece and Bulgaria and there was nothing quite like it, yet it was not quite as popular a sport…
The World Cup fanfare was simply amazing and oh how I desire to travel to a World Cup abroad. It is definitely on my bucket list, yet this year is not the year. Watching from afar is fine by me and I hope to catch as many matches as possible, to watch the games unfold and see what surprises await.
In so many ways as I think about my love for the game of soccer, I am reminded of my life’s passions which inspire, encourage and light the fire. When you witness the passion from the host country, you cannot help but be reminded of our own passions. I came across a promo video yesterday that concludes with a reminder of our one true Passion!
When it comes to living a life for Christ, I find true passion. Sharing His love and life with others, whether it is through soccer…or whatever your passion may be! How are your passions lining up with your mission in life? I spent the majority of my time this past High School Soccer season asking the question of how to move beyond the simplicity of the game and the competition, to focus more on leading the young men I coach, helping them grow into their unique selves. I believe that it starts with my passion for Christ whom I’d love to share with the boys I coach, and I am blessed with the opportunity to discern opportunities to teach and lead under His guidance. I believe this is one platform I have been given to impact the lives of youth. Just as you saw in the video, the Brazilian national icon, Neymar, is gifted in the game he plays and invites God into the battle with him! There is something more to him than just playing the Beautiful Game. I share this with you today, a public statement of faith he has made, “Life only makes sense when our highest ideal is to serve Christ!” Amen! Do we live with this same central passion?! My prayer is that this month of play is not just about a Beautiful Game, but about a Beautiful Life filled with passion!