Watching the World Cup go through it’s process of selecting host cities this week was fascinating. So many different countries with such varied cultures all vying to host the same international spectacle is not something we get to witness often. And what an eventful year! Not only does Russia get to host the games, forcing them to pump billions of dollars into their infrastructure to prepare, but there is also going to be the first World Cup in the Middle East when Qatar hosts the games in 2022. The average American may not realize the significance that the tournament has on world culture, but it is huge. The World Cup is an international, cross-cultural, unifying event rivaled only by the Olympics.
It got me thinking about the unification of cultures across our world. We tend to see different countries as incredibly foreign…no pun intended. We are far too often focused on the things that separate our cultures, rather than the things we share. It is profound to think that a simple game like soccer can be such a touchstone for so many citizens of the earth, regardless of where they are from.
On some level, the same could be said for language. When I was in high school, I opted to take Latin instead of Spanish. I can’t recall why…probably because there was a cute girl in the Latin class. That’s not the point. The point is, having a background in Latin has helped tremendously while studying new languages on Mango. I have found that Latin is the base for most of the romantic languages and elements can still be found in all of them. To think that a language spread out across the world and morphed into the dialog of so many different cultures is kind of awe-inspiring. Here is something that the citizens of these countries use everyday…language…and it can all be traced back to one source. Without even realizing it, the very words they say connect them to people on the other side of the Earth.
So, whether it’s a sport or simply the words we use, times like this show us that there are many things that join us with the rest of the world that we don’t usually consider. Almost as much fun as exploring the world and discovering all the things that make us unique, is exploring the world and finding the things that make us the same. I have absolutely no idea who is going to win the tournament in ’18 or ’22, but I know the world will be watching it and talking about it. Thanks to Mango and my old Latin teacher, I might just understand what they have to say.
The more I learn here on Mango, the smaller the world gets…that’s one of my favorite things about it.