The World Cup’s beauty is that it
is universal; each and every person on the earth can bond in the thrall of the
beautiful game. No matter what language we speak in our everyday life, when
watching football we are sharing a universal vocabulary, expressed through a
multitude of visceral plaudits.
There’s the artistry of a Messi
dribble, the sumptuousness of a backheel from Christiano Ronaldo, the sheer
gurning nihilism and agricultural perfection of a 70-yard hoof from the
trundling grunt that is John Terry. All keywords to a language we can all
understand, even John, if someone spells the difficult words for him.
It is, fundamentally, about
communication. And communication underpins commerce, which underpins the
economy. By bonding with our brothers and sisters across the seas, in this
shared mutual experience, surely nations, economies, people will come to a
closer understanding of each other.
By watching host nation South
Africa taking on Mexico today, Friday, 11 June, we’ll be participating in a
wider discourse: what does it mean to be human?
What does it truly mean, for
example, to experience the near-misses, the goals, the lost games, and the throw-ins
of life? To accept the decisions of the ‘great referee in the sky’ and his
absolute authority in all things, including disputed offsides? To understand
that winning and losing can both provide wonderful lessons, including which
bars to avoid afterwards?
These universal lessons can help us
to find the similarities between each other, not the differences, no matter
what job you do or wherever we’re originally from. In fact, those variables are
what gives the experience its wonderful colour and vibrancy. Philosophically-speaking,
the evidence is incontrovertible.
You may think that all of this is a
‘fool-fool’ idea, but the statistics actually back it up. A report on the
impact of sport in the UK workplace was published by the Social Issues Research
Centre before the 2006 World Cup. It based its results on focus groups,
individual interviews and a national poll of 2,000 people.
Its results revealed that 70 per
cent of men and 62 per cent of women said the World Cup would have an impact on
their work. Winning boosted morale, inevitably, but the report also found that
events created workplace team spirit and social inclusion and acted as a
levelling factor between colleagues, regardless of seniority. Talking about
sport broke down barriers and allowed a more open relationship between work
colleagues. The report noted that this could lead to enhanced creativity and
sharing of ideas, developing and maximising talent and could boost morale and
productivity. So turn on the television – you’re helping the economy.
If you’re at a desk – as a lot are
– surfing the net is frowned upon by many employers. And yet evidence by top
scientist Dr. Brent Coker of Melbourne University, studying 300 workers’
habits, concluded that workplace internet leisure browsing made people more
focused on work tasks.
“People need to zone out for a bit
to get back their concentration. Short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick
surf of the internet, enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher
total net concentration for a day’s work, and as a result, increased productivity,”
And he’s a doctor, for Palacios’
sake, and you can’t argue with a doctor very easily. Unless you’re another
doctor, but that’s hardly the point.
So boost your work output and head
towards the Compass’ extensive pages caycompass.com/worldcup2010 immediately
and get stuck into the World Cup Pool. It’s perfect for a net concentration
boost, in every sense.
If all else fails, there’s always
the evening roundups, the news, the newspapers, your friends… it’s harder to
miss a World Cup goal than to actually get to watch them all these days. We
live in an age of communication, after all.