People who know me know that I love Brazil. They know that I love soccer. So they’ve asked me, “Are you going to the World Cup?” And my usual response is, “I did my life wrong. I’m not going.” But, at the end of the day, there was a moment about six months ago when I had to decide if I was going to scrape the funds together to go. I was well aware of the protests that went on in Brazil during the 2013 Confederations Cup, the “rehearsal” event for the World Cup the following year. I have enough Brazilian friends who have told me that they feel that the average Brazilian gets no benefit from the World Cup coming to the country. I have seen the embarrassing quotes from legendary Brazilian soccer icon Ronaldo who, in response to protesters’ cries for spending to build better infrastructure instead of better soccer stadiums, said that “you can’t host a World Cup with better hospitals and schools.” But I love soccer! So I felt an extreme sense of conflict about whether to go or not. Despite the spectacle of the World Cup, part of me would also rather go to Brazil when it’s not so full of tourists. In the end, I decided not to go. It’s a decision that I partially regret and partially am at peace with. But HBO’s John Oliver has perfectly captured the conflict that many soccer fans feel as they try to balance their love of the Beautiful Game with the atrocities and corruption rampant in soccer’s governing body, FIFA. Enjoy!
EDIT: After watching the Ronaldo link that shows all of his goals, I have to say that it will be a real shame if Germany’s Miroslav Klose breaks Ronaldo’s all-time goal record. It would be sort of like Karl Malone breaking Kareem’s all-time points record in the NBA (sorry Jazz fans). Unless Germany wins the World Cup. Then it would be like John Elway winning his Super Bowls. But all of that is another topic entirely.