Theatrics and fun at World Cup 2014
Watching the World Cup unfold daily, in the company of Billo and the lads, I can’t help but notice one difference in the teams and how they play at the World Cup.
Enjoying the game
Studying the body language, mood and morale of the players, it seems to me that some of the African and Central/Southern American teams seem to enjoy the games so much more.
They express themselves so vividly, be it in their facial expressions when they score or concede, or in their celebrations after a goal that are so incredibly fun to watch (and partake in I assume!!).
The players appear to play without a care in the world. They look free to becreative and to try to win games, rather than attempt not to lose them. There is a major difference in these approaches to winning sporting fixtures.
It has led me to think of freedom, enjoyment and expression in sport. When we play sport do we express our natural selves? Or are we wrapped up in not appearing to be light-hearted, choosing instead to wear the façade of a soldier primed for war.
I wonder whether players really enjoy having to appear so serious. Can it feel normal to suspend any thoughts of spontaneity when playing?
Some of the African and American teams clearly side with the idea that the World Cup is theatre. They are hell bent on putting on their best performance in front of the watching world, theatrics and celebrations included.
Granted, some of them may not qualify from their group or win the tournament, but they sure as hell seem to be enjoying the adventure they’re on. The same certainly could not be said for the other countries.
This raises a question around the players’ well-being for me. If they do feel under such pressure, can the game be fun? Is it worth the effort then?
For many of us, we go through the ups and downs of sport as a labour of love to the game, the club, the county, the country or some loftier ideal. However, there needs to be some balance.
Freedom of expression
We need to be free to express ourselves, to celebrate, to be spontaneous, to laugh, to cry. To simply allow outward the range of emotions usually kept inward.
At the heart of sport is the ability to create something new every day we play, to express to the world the abilities that we’ve crafted for so long and hopefully to have fun in doing so.
It’s a pity I have to include the word “hopefully”in the sentence above.