Although I am not a huge sports fan, I must admit that the energy surrounding the World Cup can be infectious, such that I find myself enjoying some of the games. Soccer is one of the few truly global institutions in our increasingly globalized world, enjoyed by literally billions of people across the planet.
Hundreds of millions of people from all walks of life are, in one way or another, taking part in the same collective experience. Not to sound sappy, but imagine — never in our thousands of years on this earth have so many people across so many different boundaries shared in one thing.
To be clear, I am not naive about or in disagreement with the various criticisms and controversies surrounding this particular World Cup and FIFA in general (which are similar to what bedevils the Olympics and the OIC). I just find it fascinating from an anthropological and historical perspective how something can transcend so many different cultures and nationalities.