I was raised in a sport-centered family.Â Football, baseball and basketball dominated the television.Â If my family wasn't watching it, my brother was playing it.Â When he got too old, his sons took over the spotlight and so the torch was passed.
By sheer chance, my children were introduced to soccer when my nephews began to play and there wasroom on the Under-6 teams.Â I started coaching the following year and didn't stop for 19 years.Â While I was never a player, I loved interacting with the players.
Ours was a humble beginning.Â We only playedÂ recreational soccerÂ and stressed fun more than winning (even though we were always competitive and did our fair share of winning).Â I never considered the implications and the potential of our weekend games.
Maybe we never considered it more than a fun weekend, Nelson Mandela did.Â Can you imagine an international hero such as Nelson Mandela believing that bringing World Cup to Africa would heal wounds centuries old?Â He saw the potential thatÂ soccer could bring to the international community.Â Cultures worldwide play soccer.Â It isn't the property of a specific nation...it is loved byÂ people worldwide.Â The only color that matters is the color of your socks, so the referees can tell who controls the ball.Â What an amazing, yet simple message this wonderful sport brings.
So, you may not be a soccer fan, or even a sports fan.Â You can however, enjoy the joy this competition brings to us all.Â Oh, and go USA!