The Beautiful Game

They call it the beautiful game.

And so it is.

Beauty, art, movement, dance, acrobatics, contortionism, aerial jumps…poetry in motion.

I can’t tell you when the first time I saw a soccer game, or as we call it, futbol, but I can tell you this, it has been in my blood probably from those first moments.  I remember as a child standing by our black and white T.V. and jiggling the foil covered antenna so we could get a better picture and being frustrated that I might miss one of the great Pelé’s moves.  That’s how far back my love affair with the beautiful game goes.

In this recent World Cup in Brazil, I fell in love all over again.  There is nothing like it.  It is the Olympics of soccer – coming together every four years, the best of the best, all to battle for precious status as world champions. Unlike most of my compatriots, I don’t just watch World Cup.  Oh no, my love runs deep and true. Year after year, season after season finds me glued to Univision, the Spanish language channel that so wonderfully and diplomatically covers those games.  Even my 8-year old grandson Aiden says, “Grams, I ONLY like the Univision announcers, they know the game.” Through it all, I cheer on my beloved Mexico teams.  I have a partiality for Guanajuato because that is where my grandparents came from. I watch and wonder who of each team will be selected for the coveted Seleccion Nacional (the team that will go to the World Cup).  I fall in love over and over again with the players.  I watch games against every team in the world and, while I hope for the USA, (it IS my country), I still don’t think that they are up to the challenge of winning a world cup from FIFA.  They proved me happily wrong this year.

I overheard someone at a restaurant near my job saying that the Germany – Argentina game (final of the World Cup 2014) was boring because they only scored 1-0 and I wanted to scream.  THIS is what drives me crazy about so-called soccer/futbol fans.  They don’t see what I see and what I see is beautiful.  I see furious running that is so fast, it almost looks like speeded up film but I’ve seen players in real life, real time, running just that fast.  I see dance moves, flexibility that is so incredible it seems the players are made of rubber and are almost boneless, I see drive and determination, I see art in motion, I see passion, I see…beauty – beauty in a game.

At World Cup, I have the teams I love and the teams I love to hate but no matter what, each player is a finely tuned machine and each looks as if they are sculpted by Michelangelo – not an ounce of fat and all appearing as if made of marble.  Never was this more apparent as in Mexico’s game against Cameroon where it rained in torrents for hours and the players were soaked, uniforms plastered to flawless bodies.  In each ripple of muscle, I saw dedication to their craft, hours of practice, the pain it must have cost and their seemingly tireless energy.  I watched players like Mexico’s Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa make incredible saves and moves that were almost superhuman and I fell in love with the game all over again as I always do.  How can you not fall madly in love when you see poetry in motion?

I watched almost all the games this year – aided in part by Verizon’s cameras all over Brazil stadiums, using their service on my tablet as I watched from my work desk while I typed out legal briefs and at home, on Univision while sharing my enthusiasm, pain, grief, excitement and love of the beautiful game on social networks. Even now, I can go to the Verizon Futbol gallery and check out memories of one of the best World Cup’s I’ve seen in my life.  Throughout the incredible matches- ups, downs, insane moves and saves, futbol reaffirmed itself to me and millions of others that it is a beautiful game.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Verizon Wireless Lifestyle Program which gives me free access to mobile technology and other benefits.  The opinions expressed here are my own. I am, as always myself. #VZWBuzz

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