Corrupt politicians are making government even more corrupt, families are being torn apart at borders, common sense and empathy have both gone out the window. It’s hard to wake up in the morning and not feel our stomachs turned into knots over what kind of horror we’ve woken up to.
Thankfully, football is not terrible right now, and the World Cup is happening.
I recently visited my therapist and when she asked how I’ve been doing this past week, I was honest. The news has me all torn up and feeling helpless, even when I give money to causes I support, plan to go to protests and make my voice heard. She asked what I’ve been doing in terms of self-care. I was honest.
“I’ve been throwing myself into sports and the World Cup as a distraction.”
Now, some people will tell you that being distracted, not paying 100% of your attentions to the horrors going on and how you can work against them, is failure. That’s the thing, though. We’re all pretty capable of caring about more than one thing at a time and I’m going to share a secret with you.
Caring about football doesn’t mean you don’t care about anything else.
I know, it’s shocking! It’s crazy! How could you care about anything but all the terrible things happening in the world right now?
Because there is so much good happening in the world, too. Even, and maybe even especially, including the World Cup.
Self-care is one of the only ways that we’re going to get through this mess. And using a distraction as self-care is okay. Lately there can be a lot of guilt associated with distracting yourself and sure, using distractions as an excuse not to pay attention to the world around you is where it gets sticky, so you at least have to have the common sense to know when it’s getting out of control.
But when things are tough like they are now, we need to remind ourselves of positive things. Surround yourself in them if you have to, throw yourself into them, to balance out all the negativity in the world.
That’s kind of why the World Cup is awesome.
It magnifies all the things we love about football. Skills and athleticism, the hours of training and work it takes to be able to run and kick and be aware of your surroundings for 45 minutes at a time.
It amplifies the heart, but also the grit, needed to play alongside your enemies and against your friends.
Representing a country and bringing the whole world together in support, or enmity, of it.
What could be a better distraction than a month-long tournament that brings us all that?
Sure, there’s heartbreak and anger, just like with any sports tournament. That’s not the point.
The point is that the World Cup is a month-long event that puts a microscope on everything good about humanity – the love, the work, the camaraderie – and reminds us that while times around us are tough, there is still some good in the world. We can find joy in teams like Panama and Iceland scoring their first World Cup goals ever. There is bittersweet delight in watching titans like Germany fail to get out of the group stages.
So please, use the World Cup as your distraction. You can watch all the games, read all the things, when the news outside of it is getting too tough to handle. It’s okay, because it ultimately represents good things on the surface. There is still positivity in the world and right now it’s in the form of international football.
And hey, Liverpool’s preseason starts as soon as the World Cup ends, so we won’t be without football for very long.