Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup Celebrations

Before I go any further, let me say that, yes, I am well aware of the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup.

But.... a little closer to my heart is the fact that the World Cup has just begun. I'll admit that I am by no means a sports fan, but having been practically raised on a soccer field, the sport is inescapable in my family.

I love it for the fact that it is truly the sport of the entire world. Having worked with refugees over the years, I know that soccer is often an escape from the harsh realities of life for many people, especially children. I can clearly recall a time several years ago, when I brought a donated soccer ball to a Somali family with three sons. The look of joy on their faces was the best thank you I could ever get. It still makes me smile.

So, I am compelled to share the news that there was a another sports celebration happening today. It was the opening game of the World Cup in South Africa.
The South African consulate is hosting Celebrate Africa right here in Chicago, which will include public viewing parties and soccer tournaments.

This morning, Daley Plaza played host to the viewing of the Mexico - South Africa game (which ended in a 1-1 tie). In addition to the game, there was plenty of entertainment, including musical performances by a South African drumming group and a Mexican Mariachi ensemble. I heard a re-cap of the event on Worldview on WBEZ and it sounded amazing. One of the highlights was when the African drummers joined the mariachis and had a spontaneous jam. Could this happen any place else??

Just to get you in the spirit of this incredible world-wide party, here's the official World Cup song (in Spanish & English).