What I’ve learned from the World Cup

As a lifelong soccer fan, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching and following the 2018 World Cup, in spite of a glaring absence from the USMNT. But that’s a topic for another blog…

Now that the tournament is wrapping up (the final is this upcoming Sunday and I still don’t know who I’m supporting, France or Croatia), I thought I would share what I’ve learned from the World Cup.

Passion

The face paint, money spent, voices lost, travel time, gear represented, and work time lost from watching the games (Kristen, not me, I swear!) all add up to the passion the fans have for the sport and their team. Imagine if we applied that passion to our daily lives – “Peanut butter & jelly?!? Yes!!” or “Heading down 95 at rush hour – GOOOAALLL!”. I feel if we start adding in passion to things that are boring or even moderately exciting, we might trick ourselves into enjoying it, and ultimately living a fuller and more fulfilled life.

Support

Even the best players in the world need a good support system, e.g. Messi, Lionel, and they will never be champions without it. Teammates, coaches, trainers, equipment staff and agents are just a few of the support systems of a professional athlete and if one of them is lacking or out of line, performance will suffer. In our own lives, how is my support system? How is yours? Or maybe a better question is – am I a good support? Either way, having a strong support or being a strong support is essential on and off the pitch.

Plan

Whether it’s a 4-4-2, 3-5-2 or a 4-3-3 formation, most teams go into a game with a plan, except of course my beloved USMNT…we just kick it around and hope for the best, but I digress. Coaches plan, strategize and maneuver their players in what they feel is the best formation and chance to win. I wonder if we applied a bit more planning and thoughtfulness to our lives, would we set up ourselves up for success? Maybe. I’ve heard it said, “spontaneity is best when planned”.

Plan B

Yellow cards, injuries (real or fake), opponents line up adjustments, sickness and own goals are things most coaches don’t plan for. That’s why we should always have a backup plan. My personal Plan B – Stay cool, calm, collected and most importantly, don’t cry. We need to be able to make adjustments on the fly, be flexible and recognize opportunities when they come, whether we planned for them or not.

Leadership

Croatia is captained by Luca Modric, who is widely considered one of the greatest midfielders of his generation. France is led by goalkeeper Hugo Llois, who has played more caps (games) for his country than any other keeper and is the captain of both his professional and national teams. Having leaders like that might be why both countries are in the final. Whether it’s at home, at work or a sports team, make sure the leader is worth following; it might just be the most important intangible of all.

Today I will wake up with more passion, make sure I am supportive of those around me, plan but always have my plan B ready. If I’m a leader, I will make sure I’m someone worth following and just maybe, the 2018 World Cup will have taught me something special. Maybe the USMNT could apply these traits as well…Qatar 2020 is right around the corner!

Honorable Mention

Cold spray, tattoos, V-A-R, Neymar Jr., the dramatic sense of flair, sweet hair, arguing every call in spite of being wrong, NO is apparently a universal language, penalty kicks are a terrible way to lose, Ronaldo’s Adams Apple is thing of beauty, nobody cares about the 3rd place match, Tony Meola sounds just like Troy Aikman and soccer is truly the beautiful game.

Written by:

Seth Perdue

Youth and Sports Director

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