Featured Articles

Watching Futbol

Watching the World Cup with Americans can be a painful experience. The ignorance, and often dismissiveness, of Yanks towards The Beautiful Game is well documented. They complain that nothing ever happens, that nobody scores goals, and, of course, that since the game is uninterrupted, there's no time to refill the Cheetos bowl in case you do happen to miss that one highlight.

I grew up between the United States and Italy. My second country has a maddening love affair with futbol ("soccer" to you). Over the years I've come to appreciate the game more and more, but never more so than this year, when I finally connected the game to my meditative practice.

Time is time in futbol. There is no stopping the clock. Once it starts, neither injury nor free kicks nor substitutions will have any effect. When you sit down to watch a match, you're committed to 45 minutes per half. (Yes, there is a 15-minute halftime.)

During these minutes you will be engaged, frustrated, wishing they were going faster, slower, or not at all, but whatever the case youwill constantly be dealing with the concept of time, and when this session will be over. That may sound familiar. It certainly does to me.

The 7-1 drubbing of Brazil by Germany the other day aside, scoring is at a premium in futbol. That is, you wait and wait and wait for the breakthrough moment, a moment of clarity, if you will. This, too, may sound familiar.

I could go on further with the comparisons, but let me offer one final one. When the match is over, there is a transitional feeling when going back about the rest of life. You stand, pause, take a moment to realize the event has ceased, then reorient yourself. Again, there is likely some familiarity in this.

But with any luck, you take futbol with you wherever you go.

Vote for this article to appear in the Recommended list.

Site developed by the IDP and Genalo Designs.