June 29, 2010

The World Cup to Brazilians

You may have seen images of soccer fans around the world - people going crazy and really showing their love for this sport. But until you've been to Brazil during a World Cup, you will never understand what soccer obsession really means.

Soccer is Brazil's pride, joy and heart disease. It's in a Brazilian's genetic code. It affects men, women, teens, children, pets and plants. During the World Cup, the country stops. It's quite a scene: in every town, in every home, in every business you walk into, you'll find people and places decorated with Brazil's yellow and green colors. Christmas has nothing on this - the World Cup is a month long holiday and game days in Brazil are a phenomenon that cannot be explained.

Businesses don't bother to open that day, the freaking stock market closes down early, the streets are deserted and everyone is glued to the TV. I said e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e: old ladies, children, hospitalized people. Everyone. A city like São Paulo, who boasts a population of 31 million people, comes to a complete halt. Now that's something that can't be orchestrated or planned. It happens because soccer runs through every Brazilian's veins and you can't stop what happens. Employees won't show up to work because well, bosses won't be there either and neither will customers. I think you get the picture.

The World Cup helps Brazilians forget their problems, their crappy economy, their shortcomings as a nation and all the other areas in which they don't succeed. Soccer playing is a gift they were given. It's an art form and a skill that is not taught. Kids are born with it and countless players who become international stars had their start on the streets. Many were homeless. Most were very
poor growing up and all share one love: soccer. It's a story of survival, perseverance and overcoming. For that and many other reasons, Brazilians take ownership of the sport and hold it dear to their heart. Every four years, during the World Cup, the nation comes together and miracles happen. There’s nothing like it in the world and I wish I was home right now.
Game day. This is one of the busiest avenues in the city of São Paulo. 31 million people and it is deserted when it should look like this (below):

Vamo nessa, meu Brasil! Meu coração não agüenta! Te amo!


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