Watching FIFA World Cup: A Nepali Experience (Personalized)
By Dinesh Wagle
I call that the World Cup Fever. The temperature was well above 104 degrees in fahrenheit and I was in terribly bad condition. I couldn’t sleep for that night and my friends in the hostel of Dorjee High School, Boudha, were in the middle of something very important: the final match between [West] Germany and Argentina. That was in 1990 and the two countries representing two continents were fighting for the FIFA World Cup in the form of a ball: Football. That was my first world cup (in TV). I came from my room, friends brought me, to the TV room of the hostel with a pillow and lied on the carpet and fixed my eyes on the box. The game was fantastic, I felt like the real fever was decreasing as the Cup fever was increasing within me.
Fortunately, I am healthy today and the Cup fever has risen yet again. Just saw the opening ceremony of the 18th FIFA World Cup live on ESPN and I am already feeling excited about the next few weeks to come. I will be among those estimated audience of 5 billion, according to the BBC, who will be following the 62 matches to be played in 12 venues around Germany in the next four weeks.
I am tired of always talking about the equations of politics, being anxious about the success of the prospects of peace talks, thinking about the gloomy economic situation of the country, wandering around the polluted city of Kathmandu looking for stories for the next day’s issue of the paper. This, I think, is the perfect opportunity for me to forget all those difficulties and lost in the glories of the game.
Hail to the Kings
By Mac Margolis in Newsweek International
June 12, 2006 issue – For the record, anyone can win the 2006 world Cup. Whether it’s three-time champion Italy or the debuting Angolans, 10th-ranked England or No. 61 Togo, once the ball begins to roll in Germany on June 9, theoretically each of the 32 national teams vying for glory in the globe’s most popular sport has a fighting chance. OK, now forget all the sportingly correct disclaimers. Sure, football’s premier spectacle has seen its share of upsets over the decades. But since 1958, when a precocious South American team, debuting a 17-year-old named Pelé, blind sided Cup host Sweden5-2 in the finals, the one iron rule in football is that Brazil is the team to beat. And to judge by the pregame hoopla and headlines, by the evening of July 9, when the final whistle blows in Berlin, even hidebound European fans will be learning to samba yet again. (Go to this page for the complete article)
(In between, I haven’t missed the games. I was in another hostel of Janapremee English Secondary School in 1994 and I still remember watching games in Ujjwal’s house along with friend Suraj (taking leave from hostel in almost every evening). Oh…yea, because the game was late in the night, we actually missed some goals and had to rely on the morning bulletin to give talks about the game to other friends. In 1998 it was a team of Suraj, Achyut and I watching the game together. I was writing about the games for a weekly newspaper as well. And about the 2002 games, I feel that was just yesterday that I was celebrating the victory of my all time favorite team Brazil!)
They say music is the medicine of love but I think the same and the game are perfect healer of tense minds. But then that doesn’t mean I will be forgetting to track all the developments that we are experiencing in the recent times. In Italy, I have heard, politicians use sports to keep the public away from the burning political issues by providing good games on TVs and keeping the people busy in front the idiot box. I saw a documentary recently in which filmmakers brilliantly show how dictators exploit the popularity of football to fulfill their political ambitions and launch regressive crackdown against political opponents.
I know the situation in Nepal is quite different and we are not much addicted into game so that we forget the burning issues that we are facing in the society. We don’t have such a luxury and that may be because politics itself has become a big game and we are habituated in watching the matches. Our own position in the game of Football is also not so exciting and that also has something to do with the political situation in the country.
As UN Secretary General writes in a syndicated article that is also published in the Op-Ed of the Kathmandu Post, I believe that, “as the pinnacle of the only truly global game, played in every race and religion, it is one of the few phenomena as universal as the United Nations…. the World Cup is an event in which we actually see goals being reached. I am not talking only about the goals a country scores; I also mean the most important goal of all– being there, part of the family of nations and peoples, celebrating our common humanity.”
Even if many of us can’t be there, TV brings us the game in our rooms. Let’s enjoy the fever, the Cup Fever!
When you are not watching the games…
1. How we envy World Cup by Kofi A Annan (in the Kathmandu Post)
2. Girls have more fun by Pratichya Dulal (in the Kathmandu Post)
3. Hail to the Kings (cover story in Newsweek)
4. World Cup…and Guff (a blogxperience by our own Zade 15 in her blog)