Jacob Sweetman: The World Cup is a reason to live



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Tip of the cap

Great response to a sloppy, snobbish and deliberately inflammatory article. Absolutely the eloquent, heartfelt and, above all, grounded riposte it deserved. I doff my cap to you JS.

Sam Bavin more than 2 years ago

I agree with you BUT

the world cup brings out a nationalistic hateful side in me, too. I fucking hate Suarez, I hate him so much. The anger and hatred I feel towards him is not totally innocent or harmless

Also Fifa are really naughty boys and what about that stadium in Manaus and the poor Brazillians and the boy who got killed in the demo and those stupid German fans blacking up? So in a way John is right to hate the WM. In a way those people who reject patriotism ARE right.

BUT I still love the world cup, can't help it

Jacinta Nandi more than 2 years ago


I agree with your take-down of the anti-WM letter. When I read the original piece it struck me as bizarrely snobby and not really understanding the situation. We in the US (also an American originally) grew up basically without the World Cup. It still strikes me at how many people I know make an effort to watch ALL the matches, or at least as many as they can, rather than just the Germany ones. People support a variety of teams for many reasons, and basically enjoy the global festival that is the World Cup. In the US, I feel most people would tend to mainly focus on the US's matches, ignoring most of the rest (because nationalism!). John's column to me suggested that, in addition to his snobby goggles, he also had trouble removing his US goggles to see the whole thing from the German/worldwide perspective. That the author couldn't see that, in the World Cup, people support teams they grew up with or have particular histories with, and that these teams ALSO just happen to share the name of a country, well, that sort of sucks for him.

Also, there was a great piece on das Erste last night from the night of the Germany match, showing people driving up and down Ku'damm (i think), and waving flags, honking horns, etc - many of them with "migration background". At one point the camera caught a sort of "südländisch" looking guy leaning out a car window, waving a giant Germany flag, and shouted "INTEGRATION!!!" at the camera. Just goes to show, there are more ways of looking at a flag than the "OMG NAZIS" point of view suggests..

Drew more than 2 years ago

Great response, Jacob

This is the first World Cup my eight year old daughter has really engaged in – from collecting stickers to, yes, painting her face and waving a flag whilst watching the Germany games. She has supported both “her” teams – England and Germany – but also, and with as much enthusiasm, the teams of her friends at school and elsewhere, whether the Netherlands, Australia, Spain, Russia and so on… she is not quite into the sporting side of it enough to marvel in the parts you mention in the second to last paragraph, but she is beginning I think to understand the magic of this event in the same way I did as a ten year old watching Italia 90 in our living room in West Lancashire. There are problems with the World Cup – FIFA, the situation in Brazil, FIFA, the horrific situation in Qatar, FIFA – and there are morons hiding behind the flag of every country taking part, but I agree with Jacob that the reason so many people engage with this tournament, making it probably the most shared experience on the planet, is its inclusivity. If you like football, you will find someone to talk to wherever you go in the world… and if you have a dad that can use it to teach you about the world around us – another experience that we share – then so much the better. I am certainly going to try…

Paul more than 2 years ago

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