practicing courage with the World Cup

The other day I watched some live baseball in person and live World Cup on TV at the same time. I’ll be the world’s last person to become a sports fan, and my introverted nature lamented the fact that I had to attend the game. But I found myself captivated by penalty kicks on one side, and baseball on the other.

When fans talk about a game like they would have done better than the athletes on the field, I cannot relate. But as the player draws a deep breath, step in front of the ball, that I can relate. As the player draws a deep breath, step in front of the ball, I feel the weight of the world on their shoulders. Not just the failure and success of their country or the pride and dignity of their fellow countrymen, but the world. Because soccer/football IS the world they’ve built with their sweat and blood and life.

The chaos of nerves and fear, the no-turning-back. Having to find their way to the eye of the storm, to focus like they’re running on the blade of a sword, and giving it their all as if it’s a matter of life and death: that I admire. Whether or not it gets in the net, they’re a hero to have stepped up, showed up, and just kicked the damn ball.

As my heart tightened and released with every kick, regardless of the team, it felt like I was training my courage muscles just by watching the players.

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