Eleven Reasons to Love the World Cup

11) Soccer, or “football” as the rest of the world calls it, is truly “the beautiful game.”

10) The entire globe — with possibly the exception of America — caring about something other than oil, money, and religion.

9) The unfamiliar national songs sung, con gusto, in the stands.

8) The uniform colors.

7) The level playing field, where a poor country can beat a rich country, and where all the inequities of global trade wilt under the heat of millions of examining eyes.

6) Excitable Spanish-speaking announcers.

5) The spirit of cooperation and communication that wins games.

4) The gorgeous athletes, with the kind of fit, sensibly muscled physiques that announce good health, not dietary supplements or weight-lifting obsessions.

3) The referees’ solemnity and frequent ineptitude, which reminds us that nothing in life is as fair as we wish it to be.

2) The operatic facial emotion seldom seen from competitors in less exposed sports.

1) Children escorting the players to the pitch, linking generations and suggesting that there’s always hope for a bright future, no matter how dim the prospects.

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