They won yesterday; the world cup belongs to Spain today; and may they fill it with a brand new optimism for moving forward as a nation (that's really how all nations operate the best...surrounding themselves with happy thoughts and good vibrations...having a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves, collectively speaking...building upon each others successes and innovation and incite and ideas...spiraling upwards, not down...embodying the fullness of each individual, working together, to return to greatness and a growing economy...)
It's what we like to call, in America, exceptional-ism -- and every country carries it, from generation to generation, their own special way. Who are we to second guess it, question it, make excuses for it, despise it or covet it. There is plenty of it to go around.
Interesting that up until Sunday, a region of Spain -- Catalonia -- was apparently begging for it's independence. Nearly 1.5 million Catalonia's finest gathered in the town square of Barcelona to protest the ruling by the nation's highest court, stating that they went "beyond the limits of Spain's system of granting various degrees of self-rule to its 17 regions," and cementing the rule of Spain, by it's constitution, "as the only nation" and basically telling Catalonia to put up or shut up.
Side note to the case: Catalonia's growing prosperity, as a region, is widely recognized as being the impetus for asking for sovereignty...not wanting to associate with the financial burdens and errors of other parts of the country perhaps is another.
I wonder, do you think they mind it today? My bet is on those 1.5 million sticking around in that town square cheering on the home team for the last twenty four hours and counting...what do you think? It's good being associated with a winner, isn't it. That is enough to change everything.
Another thing that struck me yesterday, while watching the last two teams standing (besides the obvious stake of boredom thrust into my chest), was how many yellow cards were going up. It was like, come on, guys, let the game just play, enough with the regulation and calling each other out, and fake injuries and rollovers and all -- between the players and the referees, I'm not sure who was to blame more.
In my little head, I was thinking this is why regulation doesn't work in a free market...but let's keep on keeping on here.
It reminded me of a study, highlighted in my local Union-Tribune, by a staff writer, Mark Zeigler. It was in the Sports section, so no wonder I even saw it at all...
but it caught my attention with the heading, "Player, civil violence linked?"
An Argentinian, and Assistant Professor of Political Science, here at UC San Diego -- Sebastian Saiegh, is the co-author of the study. While he specializes in Latin American affairs, he is also an avid follower of the World Cup and soccer, in and of itself. The study links the finding of the appearance of red /yellow penalty cards with actual armed conflict within their native homeland.
What started this thought process, and in turn the development of violent link between the field and their nation of origin, was something of an observation that many of us might otherwise miss, unless we were looking for it.
It started -- like many things -- with a newspaper back home, and a Peruvian one to be exact -- brandishing a headline like "Matar o morir" alongside a picture of the star of the team, Nolberto Solano, pointing a "nine millimeter pistol at a light blue jersey of Uruguay's national team"...what did it say, pray tell? "To kill or be killed."
As the article sets up the logic with a simple, "that's Peru." Nothing more really needs to be said. (Peru being a country ripe for civil war/conflict for decades -- with Uruguay, having none.)
So the Uruguayans thought oh my God, what kind of country is this? as the Peruvians were like, you got that right...and though no more of it.
As the study claims, the overall appearance of a yellow card per player, according to the usual season (excluding World Cup -- as it only happens every four years, and it askews the numbers...) was 2.43 cards per season, per player. However, places like Israel and Columbia, where undoubtedly numerous conflicts have arisen over the years, can see as many as 4.80 and 4.79 yellow cards, respectfully. And if you look at this year's World Cup, just for kicks and giggles, Algeria was found to have two reds in three games (Now that's some serious pent up aggression, isn't it? But they seem to hardly be getting away with it either.)
The point Mr. Zeigler makes, along with the assist from Sebastion Saleigh, is simply "if the exposure to civil war means violent behavior becomes more socially acceptable, then why wouldn't that translate to a soccer field in crunching tackles or flagrant body blows, the primary reason referees issue yellow or red cards?"
When the Peruvians say, what? you gotta problem with it? -- it is only mirroring a sentiment they relate to, and matter of fact, a propensity to relate to all things according to the only kind of character they know (or miss, as the case may be, as in relation to be being raised by "wolves" -- okay, that might be going too far; let's rephrase, according to having the unfortunate set of circumstances of having been raised in a constant battle for everything).
Even chimps do it. Another article through the NY Times, by Nicholas Wade, disseminates the findings of "organized aggression" in a particular group of chimpanzees -- found deep in a Ugandan National Park, namely Ngogo. This group of chimps learned how to expand their territory through waging war upon neighboring chimp groups -- the bigger the territory the chimps discovered (after decades of civil war no doubt), the more fruit trees, the more babies, the better their chances of survival, etc. etc.
The study stops short of really saying that the chimps know what they are doing...which is kind of funny to me. But they are quite forward in noting that they (the monkeys) learned the nuances of working as a group -- risking life and limb together -- taking over more and more of the neighboring fellow chimpanzee territories -- the more they value the whole over the individual, the more everyone benefits (even if it truly is at the expense of a few individuals being lost in the battle).
The chimps learned the value of working together to expand the whole in order to make their lives a little bit better, smarter, with plenty of bananas (and females...) going around for everyone. Do you think they spotted the headline of "Matar o mirir" ? somewhere in the camp of biologists watching their every move?
Of course, it brings us right around to singing on our vuvuzelas a chorus of "can't we all just get along", maybe sounding something like "I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony..."
So anyway, Catalonia just might be happy finding themselves a working arm and nimble leg of Espana upon this new day; for all of it's blessings and curses are dwarfed in the shadow of a very big cup. It is good to be Espana this morning -- last week, not so much.
Now from this day forward, we can watch, like with the sharp eyes of a referee, or like the curious minds of a camp of scientists determined to turn the whole world upside down discovering something new under the sun; we wait.
We will wait to see just how much Spain can make out of this -- for America is in the neighborhood; and we are rooting for Democracy and the Rule of Law, absent of the over zealous government regulation and pompous referees, in order to let the game's truly begin, again! Championing free enterprise, expansion, growth, one for all and all for one, with high hopes for every country to stay true to themselves.
America knows deep in her heart what is at stake, we've been there before and accompany Spain now; thank goodness we have practiced; thank God we are endowed by the Spirit of something greater than ourselves and that we are well aware of where our life and liberty lives and reigns; and thank our lucky stars that we have a chance to win our exceptional-ism back.
"When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion -- when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing -- when you see money flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors -- when you see that men get richer by graft and pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you -- when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice -- you may know that your society is doomed."
--author and philosopher Ayn Rand (1905-1982)Make it a Good Day, G
A nation's true prosperity (like ours) is not about greed at all (or for narcissistically or savagely gain world dominance )-- it is about the benefits of the individual rising to the level of the whole, so that the whole may pour out it's bounty and blessings ten fold out unto the world, without any expectation of return...for it is just the way we are made.