The Empathy of Competition

It isn’t as if anyone isn’t able to hear the warnings of the reactionaries or feel the resentments of the radicals. But beyond both legitimate fears and illegitimate hatreds is a deeper bond among humans that no messenger of tribalism or religion or race or national patriotism or even privilege can erase – the empathy of competition.

We see it in the Olympics every two years, as they alternate between summer and winter games, and take us all to every corner of the world. We see these games attract athletes from every nation and engage the passions of the world.

An even better example of this empathy of competition would have to be the World Cup soccer tournament – or football – as the rest of the world calls the game. Nearly every nation sends a team, with 64 surviving the qualifying rounds. Every fourth year, as spring comes to an end and on through the summer solstice, through even U.S. Independence day on the 4th of July, the tempers and timelines of the world run a mite slower, as billions of people dedicate hours – in countless cases every hour they can spare – to following this greatest of global tournaments.

On Friday July 2nd a very tired team from Uruguay eked a hardfought and lucky decision over an inspired team from Ghana, in a match that exemplified the intense drama of all the games. With overtime expired and one kick left, the Uruguayan defenders desperately repelled shots at […] Read More