Brazil: Enlightenment - The Way of the FIFA World Cup
By Tim Cowman
It wasn't what I was expecting but a final traumatic weekend of losing World Cup football led me on a path of enlightenment here in Brazil. It might sound strange, in fact it definitely does appear slightly out there, but my World Cup experience on the streets and in the bars of São Paulo ended under such adverse circumstances that I was drawn to uncover three important insights of life. Of course you could also attribute these thoughts to my post match depression induced madness and caipirinha fuelled hangover, which would be understandable but bare with me as I am going to take you through them anyway.
It's first of all important to highlight that I am an Englishman and my wife is Brazilian. Pre World Cup I felt we would happily exist side by side supporting each others team when they played whilst both secretly desiring and dreading a meeting between the two sides. Destiny (or just plain bad football) decided that the potential England and Brazil semi-final, luckily or unluckily depending on your school of thought, never materialised.
Despite my initial good intentions, not to mention my wedding vows, I found that however hard I tried I just couldn't bring myself to cheer on Brazil. To be honest this reaction genuinely took me by surprise and I sincerely doubt that it was solely my obsession with English football that held me back. I believe being totally submerged in a universally unquestionable Brazilian confidence verging on arrogance had an important role to play.
Now don't get me wrong, this is my opinion coming from a nation that has had to deal with 40 years of "what could have been stories" which has lead to a somewhat reserved optimism. Compare this to the five previous championships that this country's fans can draw on and you can easily understand their confidence, but when it turned to what I read as mild arrogance I have to be honest it got to me. On the other hand maybe it was just jealousy for as I sweated, sighed and tried to avoid a heart attack along with all the other English fans during every single nerve racking moment of our games Brazilians were having a party. Every one of this nations games to every Brazilian is a "festa", regardless of what football is being played. After matches it seems that very little analysis between friends takes place as tables are moved aside instantly, dancing shoes are laced up and the real fun begins.
Taking into account all the stressful games and all the parties this World Cup month has been an emotional time in my household (and for my liver) culminating in the double game losing weekend just passed, as both me and my wifes respective countries left the tournament. However in tough times you can learn a lot and I have explored ideas that I never thought I would through football, and here are the three insights that stood out the most.
Tomorrow: The First Insight...
Tim is based in São Paulo and is presently searching for employment opportunities in the areas of environmental business, journalism or education. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Previous articles by Tim:
Brazil: World Cup Blog Part 4
Brazil: World Cup Blog Part 2
Brazil: World Cup Blog Part 1
Brazil: Welcome to Samba Football School
Brazil: The Romance of the Copa Brasil Part 2
Brazil: The Romance of the Copa Brasil Part 1
Brazil: On the Road in the North East
Brazil: Teresina Part 3
Brazil: Teresina Part 2
Brazil: Teresina Part 1