Confronting the Myth and the Reality of Soccer as Another World Cup Begins
As in any other sport, the point is the narrative—but no other sport magnifies its lore in the same way as soccer.
It’s one of the world’s most accessible sports, and also one of its most grueling. A team’s star player can carry the collective weight of a generation. Generations can pass before a country births its own star. And a single score can turn a layperson into a legend, or a throwaway match into the game that’s cited for decades to come.
There is no way to know what will happen next year, let alone next month (the United States will host the World Cup in 2028, and there is quite literally no telling what this country will look like by then), yet in spite of everything, the matches will proceed. We’ll live our lives alongside them.
He asked my mom how it could possibly get any better. And while the rest of the tournament could rewrite that notion or eliminate it entirely, the moment has happened; it’s already history; it will always be there for us to recall.
Bryan Washington is the author of Lot, with fiction and essays appearing in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, BuzzFeed, Vulture, The Paris Review, Boston Review, Tin House, One Story, Bon Appétit, MUNCHIES, American Short Fiction, GQ, FADER, The Awl, Hazlitt, and Catapult. He’s the recipient of an O. Henry Award, and he lives in Houston.
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