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El Mundo Sports

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Sports personal impact

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At the end of each summer, there’s an excitement in this country because a bunch of young men get together and play a game. Austin is covered in burnt orange and cowboy boots are as prevalent on saturdays there as wakeboarding on Lake Travis on a summer afternoon. In Baton Rouge, pigs are roasted and alligator is grilled in the parking lots of Tiger Stadium. The blue turf in Boise is as colorful as Oregon’s Nike backed jerseys. From the big guns such as USC and Alabama to the Ivy league rivalries like Yale/Harvard, the country comes alive and just seems to have more feeling to it. What is this phenomenon? Why do we care? After all, it’s just a game.

Or is it?

I compare college football in the United States with soccer in the rest of the world. It simply takes over. I have seen soccer’s importance in other country’s and how everything stops when the players step out on the pitch. College Football here is no different. There’s a feeling of importance that’s hard to grasp unless you experience it first hand. It’s a time to go away to another world outside of your daily life. It’s an opportunity to sit back with a cold one and not worry about the work you left undone last week or difficulties you may have in life. For a few hours, a bunch of young men help to cure a problem that many people can’t fix on their own. There’s no therapist needed. No sit-down with a boss or talk with the family. Just a TV and the care of those around us to enjoy a moment inherently important to us.

There’s a word that comes to mind as I wait for the opening kickoff this saturday morning. That word is: Perspective. I’m as guilty as the next person in feeling that ping in my chest when I wonder if I’m living life to the fullest. Am I doing what I want? Am I getting what I want out of every day. Do I live my life to the fullest?

Recently, those around me have been living with a varied degree of daily struggles. This chapter in life has been difficult for many in my inner circle. After a certain tough stretch, one friend even said, “when will it ever end.” That’s when I come back my word for the day. Having perspective helps us come full circle and enables us to realize we can enjoy something as simple as a silly game. It gives us hope. Football or soccer or any other sport really isn’t as important as some of the daily dealings in life. It’s not on the same level as the difficulties of taking care of a child or balancing the work/love relationship. It’s not as important as being there for a sick relative. It doesn’t compare to bringing a smile to someone’s face by ensuring they know you care for them.

But college football is a medium to allow it all to happen. We can be expressive in our care for it. We can feel emotion while watching it. We can sit in our house with our loved ones and see them laugh, if even for a short while. It brings a smile to the face of those who have trouble doing it on their own. For that, I appreciate it more than I ever thought possible. People often as ask me why I love sports writing. I always say that it’s not the sport. It’s not even the writing. It’s more the realization that sports really allow a few minutes of reprieve when it’s needed most. And even though it is really just a game, it provides something so elementary, yet so important in life that can be very difficult to feel in today’s time.

It provides happiness.

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World Cup Kit 32: Spain

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Spain World Cup Jersey

One of my favorite jerseys in the tournament. Spain’s use of bright red and yellow comes from the national flag. In addition, the country’s coat of arms is on the chest, not the Spanish Football Federation’s emblem. That’s a bit unusual, but it’s a good show of respect for the country. Spain’s national team has several of the best players by position in the world. Turning that talent into creative flair is what the national team tends to thrive on, and this jersey embodies that idea perfectly.

In La Furia Roja’s first game against Switzerland, they showed the usual attacking prowess but with minimal results. Always dangerous in front of goal, the team couldn’t break down a solid defense. They should get back on track in the next game against Honduras, who is a bit weaker as a whole. But if they don’t, we actually may not see these bright, red jerseys in the 2nd round. I think most soccer people thought Spain would roll and easily move toward at least the semifinals. I honestly believe they will win the World Cup, although it won’t happen if they don’t pick up the pace and figure out how to adjust against organized teams.

I still look forward to seeing La Furia Roja raising the trophy in triumph.

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