Yesterday, the World Cup finals began. It is my favorite sporting tournament; it is the world’s favorite sporting event. Of all places, the New York Review of Books captures its history and spirit perfectly:
Ninety years ago, Jules Rimet welcomed commerce into international soccer to launch a competition wherein, he wrote, “foundational violence is subsumed to discipline and the rules of the game.” Today, we’re living in times when rules-based approaches are being scorned and smashed—and even Rimet’s global institution has been shaken by the crass logic of cash and political exploitation by strongmen. But on the fields where World Cup teams play, and in the bars and living rooms and cafés where we get to watch, his vision persists.