Second Report: World Cup and More
Brazil—the multiple-time World Cup champion—could not win until the end of the game against Costa Rica, a team that has only ever made it to the quarter-finals once. In the ninetieth and final minute of the game, Brazil scored. In the three minutes of continuation given for game interruptions due to player injuries, Neymar scored the second goal for Brazil. He sat down and cried.
A game is not over until it is over. Never, never, never give up.
Watching the game between Serbia and Switzerland, I looked at the names stitched on the backs of the Swiss players. Most of those players are Albanian from Kosovo. They are descendants of the Kosovo people who immigrated to Switzerland to work. The stadium is ready to erupt into a riot.
Serbs against Kosovo Albanians. Milošević, the former president of Serbia, was accused of ethnic cleansing when he forced hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians out of Kosovo.
Switzerland won. Instead of Swiss flags, I saw mostly Kosovo flags. After the game, the Swiss star player ran around the stadium with two flags: one for Switzerland and one for Kosovo.
The world is changing. It is not only climate change, not only the Me Too movement. The world’s population is mixing at an incredible rate. Ethnic identities are blending so quickly and extensively that one wonders who is what.
I love Rolando of Portugal.
Why? Because no matter how well or how poorly he hits the ball, he has a smile on his face. If other players make a mistake, they will pull their hair or cover their face, but not Rolando. He enjoys the game, period.
When you love what you do, scores are irrelevant. You are winning regardless because you are doing what you love.
Mexico against South Korea.
Last year, I came to lecture in Mexico. The immigration line for people who are not Mexican citizens was (and I am not exaggerating) about two hours long. The line for Mexican citizens cleared quickly.
I changed lines and went to the empty Mexican booth. The official working the booth looked askance at my American passport. I put my hand on my chest and said, “But, I am Mexican at heart.” She let me pass.
I recalled this incident when I was watching the South Korea-Mexico game. I have not screamed, cried, and prayed for Mexico so much, I got so excited watching the game that I got sick, and the doctor refused to release me from the hospital.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes