The World Cup enhances national pride and unity


Illustration by Sara Fuertes

The beautiful game of soccer proves its unreplicable ability to bring people together. West Essex followed the world’s lead, joining together as a community to embrace the excitement of the games.

Sweat blends the colored lines drawn on your face as you prepare for an intense 90 minutes (plus stoppage time) filled with a game of passion. A feeling of warmth and comfort overcomes you as you spot a wave of eager, genuine smiles in the crowd. After the last few years of what has felt like unparalleled disunity and hatred across the world, this is healing. The heart of the World Cup is open to each and every soul—no boundaries, no limits, no judgment. The one thing you need: a love for the worldwide sport, and West Essex has certainly embraced that.

Uniting people across borders, the World Cup is a unique opportunity to promote the recognition and fusion of different cultures, ethnicities and beliefs. The post-game on the pitch adds an extra layer of comfort to the essence of community. Players of opposing teams embrace, putting the outcome aside and displaying respect for one other’s skill and expertise.

For the first time, the World Cup was not held in the summer, due to dangerous temperatures in host country, Qatar. This shift was followed by rejection and outrage. But it did a lot more than break tradition: It became a break from the torture of repetitive schedules this time of year.

The U.S., at large, has downplayed the most popular sport in the world and disregarded its significance. But for students trying to find a distraction and adults looking for a thrill, it is perfect. There is nothing quite like a little competition to bring a nation together, and fans sat on the edge of their seats to witness if their team would surpass or fall short of expectations.

Even though life did not necessarily stop in the event of the World Cup, school lessons certainly felt some pressure to. Corner kicks were amplified on the projectors, and classrooms were buzzing with chatter about the score of the hour. Conversations of literary analysis and scientific experiments transformed into admiring Messi, Mbampee and Ronaldo’s incredible gametime performances.

“It was just a surreal experience when everyone would crowd around a single chromebook and all just share that passion,” senior Zach Atlas said.

Every four years, families crowd around their television screens to witness athletic magic happen. This year was set apart from the rest—this magic was embedded into the midst of our school days for the students of West Essex to enjoy.

“The World Cup is the most important sporting event in the world,” physics teacher Taciana Barros said. “My students saw the passion as I watched and talked about the games. Showing passion, love, sadness and disappointment are some ways I can connect to my students. Besides the love for physics, I think my students felt my love for soccer and the world cup!”

People connect with the emotions of others, and cheering for the same team provides the perfect outlet to create these connections. From bracket competitions to Messi v. Ronaldo debates, West Essex, like the world, was united in their shared appreciation for the Cup.