As I stated in my first World Cup post, I am no soccer afficinato. I own only two jerseys. They are the official 2006 Germany jersey (the year that they hosted) and this year’s official Brazil jersey. Talk about ironic. In 2006 Germany went to the semi-finals only to lose to the Italians (who would go on to win the whole thing). Germany, at home, had to settle for third place.
And now this. Are there any words for what happened last night? In case you are not a soccer fan. Brasil lost to Germany in an unprecedented 7-1 defeat. And to put salt in the wound, Miroslav Klose (#GER) passed Ronaldo’s (#BRA) all time record for World Cup goals scored.
It was absolute craziness, the caption box couldn’t even contain the names of all the German’s who scored, and some scored twice!
A friend tweeted, “Isn’t there a mercy rule in soccer?”
There isn’t. I should know. I was captain of our high school soccer team my senior year. Don’t be impressed my senior class was 43 people. We played in a prep school league that had some hard hitting teams though and it was not unusual for us to lose by double digits. That hurt. And as the eternal optimist at the end of each game I’d think 10 minutes left okay we just need to score 1 goal per minute. 5 minutes left, okay people score in under a minute...2 goals a minute. Under five minutes I started to lose hope, by the bus ride home I was crushed. That was the last season I played soccer. I applied to Westmont hoping to make their nationally acclaimed team but didn’t even try out after the defeat of my senior year.
I didn’t handle disappointment and embarrassment well.
I regret that.
Obviously, this is a sliver of a microcosm of what happened last night.
So, back to the World Cup.... Germany settled for third place again in 2010. In fact, they have never won as a united nation. Yes, West Germany has won 3 times (1954, 1974, 1990...hence the 3 stars on the German Jersey). But even the 1990 win preceded reunification of Germany by 339 days. And so they’ve waited and rebuilt and waited. Taking third or fourth place over and over again. And last night they struck.
It was a very hard blow for Brasil. Too hard, some may say.
It was excruciating to watch the players suffer. They seemed shaken to the core of their identities.
And soccer player or not, we have all experienced that sort of soul searching, that realization that we have been beaten, badly, by an opponent who was clearly our superior. And we wonder:
What could I have done to become better than the best?
How could I let people I care so much about down?
How do I live with the anger and humiliation of being outclassed? (especially in front of the whole world)
But here are some things I’ve been mulling over:
-Brasil did not have to qualify, they were granted a spot automatically as the host. It’s not as if they would not have qualified. They always have. But the process of qualifying refines a team. Sometimes we feel we have a destiny that we are meant to achieve but it doesn’t just fall into our laps. And if it does, we should be all the more wary.
-Many did not expect to win without captain Thiago Silva and top scorer Neymar Jr. and certainly not after the first 3 goals went in. Any team can win on any given day. Yes, Germany is the better team, clearly. But there is always a chance. Even if you see no way, you must believe that “God provides a way where there seems to be no way.” Never stop searching for that way. Never ever, ever, ever give up. The people who love you will believe in you even when you fail. That is why I love that #WestillProudofyouBRAZIL and #Brasilnuncamorre have been trending since the game ended.
-They still have to play for third place. And it will be a very very hard gamehttps://twitter.com/hashtag/BRA?src=hash. Whether it is against the Netherlands (a fantastic team) or Argentina (their hated enemies) the game must be played well. And I think that President Dilma Rousseff’s response was apt, "Like every Brazilian, I am very, very sad about this defeat. I am immensely sorry for all of us. Fans and our players," she wrote on Twitter yesterday. "But we won't let ourselves stay down," she said, before quoting a Brazilian song: "Brazil, get up, dust yourself off and move forward." This from a woman who was captured and tortured as a young woman but is now, “One of the most powerful heads of state” according to Forbes.com
So, “get up, dust yourself off and move forward.”