My Level-Set. Corruption and Humanity. A Stairway To Heaven. Quick Recovery D.K.
I have been called many things, but I have never been called soft. While I have a good bit of empathy for people, my persona, stemming from my upbringing and the sport I played for fifty-five years, is in a word, driven. I have no tolerance for lazy people, time-wasters, or people who are self-serving. I usually run hard with most things I do, and sometimes must remind myself to take a step back. A year ago, I did just that. A year ago today, Lennon was born into this crazy world. Lennon is my granddaughter, a mini-me of my daughter, and she has provided me with perspective. Though my kids and Lennon live 1,000 miles from me in the beautiful Hudson Valley area north of New York, FaceTime and Zoom allow me to see Lennon all the time, bringing a massive smile to my face. Friends and associates have told me the same – that having grandchildren is a wonderful and different experience. It certainly is fantastic. I am in Beacon, New York, celebrating Lennon’s 1st birthday, so this week’s post is a look at a couple of topics previously posted.
The FIFA World Cup is the quadrennial international men’s football championship contested by the national teams of the member associations of FIFA. It is scheduled to take place later this year in Qatar from November 21 to December 18. This will be the first World Cup ever to be held in the Arab world, and the controversial awarding of this massive event resulted in many football executives from around the world losing their jobs, being prosecuted, and some sent to prison.
If you know me, I am the last person who would have disdain for the sport and this competition that millions around the world look forward to every four years. As someone who played, coached, and is still involved with football (soccer), I feel the sport is fantastic in many ways. But the post below, written and posted eighteen months ago, has nothing to do with the corruption involved in Qatar being selected as the host country. With the competition starting up later this year, here was my take – unfortunately not a positive one:
It is held every four years and is the world’s most marketable sports property. According to SportsPro’s inaugural report, the FIFA World Cup has been named as the most marketable sports property with the competition beating the likes of the NBA (third), the NFL (19th) and the UEFA Champions League (Seventh). As a simple comparison, 99 million people tuned into Super Bowl 2020, while the 2019 World Cup final averaged 517 million viewers, with 1.1 billion people, at some point, tuning into the ninety minute final game. It’s huge, it is a spectacle, and it is a marketing bonanza for many brands.
Here’s a not so random thought. Cancel the 2022 World Cup. Yes, cancel the tournament. Most of us remember and are often reminded of the unscrupulous dealings of the governing body of football (FIFA) and the awarding of the 2022 tournament to of all countries Qatar. Hundreds of deaths of workers, living in squalor, who work twelve-hour days for nominal wages to build the stadia and infrastructure necessary to host the tournament. Secret deals to allow sponsors to sell their products (beer for one) in a country where alcohol is basically banned. Then having to move the always summer tournament to the December timeframe to allow the players to perform in 90 degree weather instead of an average temperature of 115 degrees during June-July.
Now news agencies are reporting that Qatar Airways, the country’s national airline, performed unauthorized strip searches of women passengers who had boarded a plane in Qatar heading to Australia. The reports of importing thousands of workers to work in inhumane conditions is so alarming. Enough is enough. Time for a reset, so cancel the tournament and let Qatar continue to be nothing in the world’s perspective. This video is disturbing to say the least. Go to the six minute mark to see the workers’ living conditions. FIFA, you should be ashamed.
I am many things…but not a hypocrite. Watching the World Cup every four years has always been fantastic – with some games having the minnows of the world upset a major football-playing nation. This event, starting right before Thanksgiving, will actually add to the festive holiday season. Some of my friends have reminded me, especially after my take was posted, that I do not have to watch the tournament. With all B.S. aside, I may not.
- On a brighter note, I leave you with a tribute to everyone has fought Covid-19, and to those people and their families who have suffered the loss of a loved one. This is a version of one of the greatest rock and roll songs of all time, Stairway to Heaven. The Wilson sisters (Heart) performed this tribute to Led Zeppelin many years ago at the annual Kennedy Center Honors show. Ann’s vocals, Nancy’s guitar, Jason Bonham, son of original drummer John Bonham, and a massive choir. In the audience are Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones. This version of Stairway to Heaven is INCREDIBLE.
A special shout-out to my long time friend, D.K., who is recovering from surgery in the awesome area of Paso Robles, California. Get strong D.K.!!!!!!