I re-watched FIFA World Cup 2014 on a Tuesday night until well after midnight. A big part of the world cup are the fans and spectators filling the stadium. Halfway through the highlights, I realized many of those in the stands, are probably gone.
On a desperate move to gain some excitement, I watched an hour and half long summary of FIFA World Cup 2014, specifically selected for Germany's win. Back in 2014, I watched almost every game but here I was, six years after and cheering like it's the first time I've seen them. It's silly, thinking about it now, that my rather okay life is only made more exciting with football. For lack of any live sports, I was happy to settle for highlights that I must have intentionally forgotten to make re-watching it more exciting.
Halfway through the highlights, I realized, some of those cheering on the stands are probably gone. England, Spain, France, Italy, USA - they qualified in that world cup and they have fans from all over the world. Fans who flocked to Brazil, to their local pubs, or neighborhood store airing the games to watch those matches. I imagined all scores of seats in stadiums sitting down, losing the will to cheer and disappearing. I imagined fans huddled together in the neighborhood eatery, one by one coughing and getting more and more sick while they watch every lost cross. I have a vivid imagination and I think too far ahead and they all get mixed up into pictures in my head that influence my personal judgement.
It was late Tuesday night. I had a video call for work at 9:00 AM the next day. I'm 33 so I was pushing my luck on making it on time in decent form. I'm one of the lucky ones because I still have a job, at least in the next few weeks (you'll never know after that, no one ever knows). It may have been modified and reduced but having a job makes me grateful. Others, I know, are not so lucky. It's because of that that there is even more pressure to do everything possible to keep a job and if that meant sleeping at the right time to be sure that you're 100% the next day, so be it. But that night I made an exception.
That night, I thought, that what I visualized is enough for me to decide that watching the highlights up to the end is my way to pay tribute to life that we knew. More honestly, it was a way for me to remember that life was that and to forget that it will never be again.
Today, as in the past weeks and in the coming weeks, games will not be played and fans have something else worse than a loss to attend to. What reassures me, if we can call it that, is that they are trying. Chelsea FC chairman has pledged to make the Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge available to medics in north-west London. The club has raised funds to protect victims of domestic abuse during this time. At the same time, it has pushed online sales for their merchandise. Companies around the world are reassessing their business models too, finding ways to help and keep their businesses afloat. It's amazing how leaders around the world muster the courage to make decisions about saving as many lives and turning life more livable for others.
I always refer to football when it comes to management, leadership, teamwork and motivation. I still look to it now because of what the teams and the leagues are doing. I can't be too sure if that's still a smart use of my time or in my profession advising companies in this new normal in the next few weeks. Until then, I'll keep on re-watching games and highlights until I've wrapped my head around the fact that the feeling is all in the past.
If you find yourself in the need to watch something with a little bit more of a real-life excitement and drama, give these a try: Becoming Champions, Sunderland 'til I die, Take Us Home: Leeds United.
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