Archives For June 2010

Have you ever been asked the question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

If you have been asked this question in an interview or casually been by a friend, it is much tougher to answer than you think.  It stumps many who haven’t thoroughly thought through it. I’ve always been intrigued by it and recognize that it is extremely challenging to answer during some seasons in life.  Most often I think in context and began looking back at my life. Most of the time it didn’t turn out exactly how I thought.  But, I believe that many answers are found in the past. With the World Cup going on, let’s take a look at the last 20 during those years the World Cup occured.

Recently, I re-read Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.  In the book, Miller shares how when we look at our lives as is, it really isn’t that interesting.  But, if you think through it as one would in writing a screenplay for a movie, many of the parts pieced together can be quite an interesting and at times adventurous story.  In those parts of life, the drama and action are brought to life for the observer, reader, or watcher.  So, I started to think through my life as a story just as Don analyzed his very own.  I cannot remember every single thing like when I drove to school on day 267 in 1996 or on day 145 in 1999 when I debated whether or not to see one movie versus another.  Pictures do help, though but unless you have a detailed minute by minute journal of your life, you just won’t remember those things.

It is the memorable scenes that stick out.

Brooke and I on top of Mt. Zugspitze, the tallest mountain in Germany

Here are my memorable scenes from the past 20 years:

1990…West Germany won the World Cup: I was 12, Saddam invaded Kuwait, I quit football and took on golf and soccer as my main sports, I remember my sister being on Student council, and I can’t remember much else.

1994…Brazil won the World Cup: I just came through a rough 1993 as a Freshman in High School, moved from Kansas City to St. Louis, discovered the amazing story of To Kill A Mockingbird (reading it in KC and STL), found friends at Young Life and they found me, I found Christ, and am still great friends with those with me in Young Life to this day. 1994 represented my “character arc” in many ways.

1998…France won the World Cup: I was a Sophmore at the University of Evansville, locked Stan Musial’s keys in his trunk while working at a country club in St. Louis(good times), I remember trying to ditch my Christian legalism and really try to understand grace in that year.

2002…Brazil won the World Cup: Great friends like Heath Hildebrandt, Rick Ewing, Josh Lang, Mike Schwacker, my father and others watched the World Cup games in the middle of the night and got to see USA make it to the quarterfinals.  The world was getting used to being “post-9/11.” I worked for a film distributor in St. Louis and was getting used to life post-college.  I also met Brooke and we began a friendship and the following year became more.

2006…Italy won the World Cup: Went to Spring Training to see the St. Louis Cardinals and they won the World Series later that year, Brooke and I celebrated our first year of marriage, we traveled to Germany for the World Cup to meet up with our friends Tobi and Curtis, saw my cousin returning from fighting in Iraq, and also traveled with my sister and brother-in-law.  During the group stages of the World Cup, we watched games in city squares with thousands of other people.  There is nothing like it in another country.  I also remember desperately trying to find a bathroom in the German Medieval town of Rothenburg. Oh the things that stick out.

2010…We shall see who wins.  This year has been interesting reflecting on what has happened since the last World Cup.  I got married in 2005, we have had 2 wonderful girls, moved across town, and I started a job in publishing, which I love and can see myself doing forever.  The year continues to surprise me.

Watching Germany play in the World Cup at a crowded market in Munich

So, what will the scenes of 2014 look like for us?

For me?

In 2014, I’ll have won my second Oscar, saved children and puppies from a burning house, win the US Open in golf, while finding time to cure malaria or some other disease.  Good pipe dreams but you never know what God can do.

In truth, I’d like to be in Brazil for the World Cup, see my oldest daughter graduate Kindergarten, be back to Hawaii with my wife (we spent our honeymoon there and we love it) finish writing a book, and plan out a round the world trip for the family for when they can “remember” it a few years later.  Who knows?  But it’s fun to look forward to what’s next.

In 2014…

Where will you be?   What will you be doing?  Who will be with you?

Envision it like a scene in a movie and describe it.

Yes, it’s that time.  It only happens every four years.  Yes, it’s the World Cup.  What do they call it?  Soccer?  Football?

Who cares, right?

Check this out first.

4 billion people will watch.  The Super Bowl averages around 100-110 million.  The Olympics averages around 247 million daily viewers.

The 2006 final between Italy and France attracted 715.1 million viewers, the largest single television event in history from what I’ve learned. The 2006 World Cup attracted a 26.29 billion non-unique viewers.

No comparison.

If you are an American reading this, you still may ask “Who Cares?”

Well to start, USA is a big underdog.  Countries with populations 1/10 the size of ours are picked to do better than us.  On June 12th, USA will face England for the first time in 60 years in a World Cup.  And yes, we beat them then!  In the USA, we are overwhelmed by so many sport choices so what is the big deal with soccer?  I grew up playing the game and continue to follow it as best as possible despite living in a town without a professional team.  The passion is there.

Years ago, I lived in Scotland and became friends with a German who was traveling there named Tobi.  We stayed in touch and I even visited him in Germany later that year.  We agreed to meet up to travel through the UK again a couple years after that.  Along that journey with other friends we met an amusing British guy named Curtis.  We all stayed in touch after our travels and agreed that the next time we’d meet would be in Germany 3 years later for the World Cup.  I became married in those years to Brooke and so the four of us traveled throughout Germany and we were fortunate enough to see Togo play South Korea.  It was an unbelievable experience and I cherish every part of it to this day.  The World Cup was what unified us that year.  Thank God our teams didn’t play each other, though.  But, on June 12th, Curtis and I most likely be speaking during that game.   Ultimately we all will be friends and are looking toward 2014 in Brazil to meet up again.

We begin our journey to Germany

A German, an American, and a Crazy Brit

The Scene

So far, this is the best video I’ve found capturing the spirit of the World Cup.

It’s not just about the World Cup.  It’s about the connection of cultures, making friends, and enjoying the adventure.

You may not play soccer and may never want to but you can’t deny what this sport has done as a bridge for cultures.

There are so many ways to use sport to connect and heal the wounds.  In Nashville alone here are a few:

Sports Servants: A great friend of mine Zac Hood took the courageous step to start up a Non-Profit called Sports Servants in 2005.  Zac recognized early on in his visits to Belize that the one unifying thing he could get kids to enjoy together was sport, and in particular, soccer.  It is what has brought together villages across northern Belize to enjoy.  Cultures have been brought together by this tremendous gift.

Nashville International Cup: Annually, a group meets comprised of Mexicans, Arabians, Hispanics, Kurdish, Sub Saharan Africans, Bantus, Asians, etc. to play a tournament.  90 players from 14 countries.  These are immigrants and some of them refugees coming to America for a better life.  It’s amazing because many of these people were enemies back home but are able to come together for the love of a common game.  This takes place today and tomorrow.

World Relief: A friend of mine, Karen Barnes volunteers with this tremendous group here in Nashville that provides assistance to immigrants and refugees.  You can read more about Karen’s experience in her blog about “Serving Refugees.” If you take a moment to look around your town, you will discover dozens of nationalities around you who need assistance.

So this next month, use The World Cup as a way in your community to connect with people other than your nationality.  Learn about their lives, invite them over for a meal, and if you will, go play a game on the pitch.

Here are a few other fun resources in celebration of The World Cup:

2010 World Cup Schedule

Top soccer Movies I’d recommend:  The Game of Their Lives/Miracle Match, Victory, Green Street Hooligans, Bend it like Beckham, or Fever Pitch.  There are many more but these always bring a smile.

Last but not least, the latest blog from Stuff White People Like will have you on the floor.

Well friends, I am thankful for a safe trip with my bride to Destin, Florida this past weekend.  We were there celebrating our 5 year anniversary and also our first vacation together away from our two young children.  Both of us needed some good rest on this trip.  Unfortunately, I spent the first 30 hours or so of our vacation yacking up some bad shellfish.  Good times…on our anniversary.  My wife was so wonderful as she has been in the 8 years I have known her and took good care of me.  But, it did cause us to change our plans, one of them being a day trip over to Seaside.  Seaside is an architectural achievement compared to the style of bland rows and rows of houses we’ve seen since WWII.  As I expected, I loved this town.  I was enamored by it.  I was lost in it.

In this movie still from The Truman Show, Jim Carey is shown walking in Seaside, Florida. Source: Jim Carrey Online

If you haven’t visited Seaside, you most likely recognize it from the famous movie from 1998, The Truman Show.  Yep, The Truman Show is to this day one of the most creative movies to enter pop culture.  It’s clever theme preceeded the voyeur-centric television we became so enamored with in the 2000’s.  Peter Weir is one of my favorite directors and captured something special we should all pay close attention.

There is something more, though.

Seaside as an idea, is an escape.  But, an escape to where, when, and about what?  Working in publishing, I can understand why Fiction is one of the bestselling genres not just in books but in all forms of media.  At times, we yearn to get away from this painful world and to just rest or become someone else.  As a Christian, I am reminded often that this world is a temporary place, but I still want to make the most of the time given to me.  My trip to Seaside made me aware that in life there is much work to be done in its adventure.

Seaside shall wait to me in the meantime.  But, it sure was nice to have that rest in the midst of battle.

What does your heart tell you when you want to escape?