Thoughts after the World Cup

August 10, 2014

The Biggest Shame in History.

It was described as a humiliation, the biggest shame in history, a historical humiliation, a disaster and a slaughter. You could easily think that these were comments made about any number of international/national debacles, wars, kidnappings and abuses but for those of you that read the headlines you’ll already know that I’m referring to football.

Yes, in 1980 Watford smashed Southampton in the league cup, 7-1 having been previously beaten by them in a previous game 4-0. One reporter is quoted as saying that even thinking now about the day of the historic victory 24 years ago sends a shiver down his spine. Watford fans still talk of this astonishing victory today. Apparently by bizarre coincidence, Brazil lost to Germany in the world cup semi final this week, with exactly the same result. Not sure if you would be aware of that of course and it may not linger in the memory as long as the Watford game, but it did get me thinking a bit. Iconic images of David Luiz falling to his knees in prayer and Scolari saying it was the worst day of his life, got the brain cells firing up.

As the world reacted to the result and news stories about paedophilia, internet law changes, kidnappings, crises in the middle east and strikes moved from the front pages, a story started to trend. Tomaz Sardhinha became an internet sensation after TV cameras focussed in on him crying his eyes out, as Brazil got roundly thrashed by a clinical and ruthless German team. Tweets of him crying went global with motivational cries of “win this game for the crying boy” and words to that effect. Understandably, Raphael Sardinha, Tomazs’ Dad was a bit concerned about all the attention so decided to try and calm things down by posting a picture of his son smiling. This however also went global. To further try and calm things down he decided to do some TV and newspaper interviews. One thing Raphael said to the media mob stuck in my mind. It was, I would contend, a fine bit of wisdom: “I’ll repeat what I told Tomaz, as he sobbed after Germany’s fifth goal: this is just a game. It tears us apart, but it is only a game” Very true that.

I know followers of Jesus Christ whose whole mood is dramatically affected by the result of a footy match. I find that a bit odd. I know that I’m opening myself up for a bit of flack, but it needs saying. I wouldn’t go as far as Milton in Paradise Lost who implied that games are what demons do in their free time in hell, (he also said that about debating, tourism {exploring hell} and philosophy) but theres a serious point to be made. As followers of Jesus we know the truth. That this life isn’t it (phil 3:20). That actually we live with a sense of heaven on our shoulders and know that we decision we made for Jesus Christ affected where we will be 10,000 years from now (John 3:16). We know that we are the redeemed (Eph 1:7) and hang by a thread of Gods grace (Eph 2:8) from being separated from Him forever. We know the score (see what I did there) and we’ve read the last page. It ends well.

To sum up, its all about perspective. Yes we have bad hair days and things can go wrong, sometimes very wrong. Loss, pain. grief, trauma, suffering are all part of life. Some things, this side of eternity are very hard to cope with and recover from indeed. But crying over a game of football when you know what we know? Leave it out.

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