“Sports are important,” my Asheville potter son, Josh, in town for his brother’s bachelor party, said to me as I was trying to get a non-sports word in edgewise. “It has stopped wars ... and has started some too.” He continued.
He, Floyd County Soccer MVP in the year 1997, went on to tell me about a group of Senegalese in Asheville who rejoiced to the point of crying when their soccer team claimed victory over France, their country’s former colonial power, in a World Cup series match.
I was thinking about how when the Red Sox won the World Series after an 80 year slump; it was more than a game to everyone in my family, including Josh who has rooted for them as the underdog since he was a little boy. “How do you know these people from Senegal?” I asked him.
“They all worked at the gas station near my house then,” he answered without looking at me because his eyes were on the TV.
This year Angola rose from the ruins of civil war and poverty to play in the World Cup, bringing a boost of hope and confidence to their entire country, I learned from Josh.
“Yes, sports can be a good way to express nationalism without violence,” I said, and we both agreed.
It also brings men together, I thought as I snapped a picture of Josh and my husband, Joe, watching the game together.
Note: Originally posted on looseleafnotes.com on June 26, 2006.