5 Lessons Learned from the 2014 FIFA World Cup


As the pilot prepares to put wheels on the ground here in the beautiful USA, I'm glad to be home but so grateful for the three weeks I spent in the glorious country of Brazil as a FIFA Medical Officer. Words are insufficient to describe the excitement, action and honor that this experience has shown me, but for this blog, words are all I have and I want to share them with you.

Here are five lessons learned from my vantage point at this year's World Cup. I hope you find some inspiration in them.

1. Football soccer continues to be the most popular and the most significant sport in the world. But the United States' response to it seems to have been renewed and I sincerely hope it sticks. This sport is scalable such that it is like having a Super Bowl game. 30 days in a row.

2. The self determination of a people and their societal love of this beautiful sport are far more important than the negative and sarcastic media interpretation from the outside.

3. The role of the medical team is clear...to prevent problems, facilitate performance and care for injury and illness. I am humbled by the breadth of knowledge and experience from this medical team, the quality of the Brazilian Local Organizing Committee health care team and each of the 32 team doctors who have shown repeatedly that we really are "ONE WORLD and ONE TEAM."

4. The passion of the players and the fans is a global phenomenon. These games are special competitions of drama, grief, pageantry and record-breaking and blazing performances. As a FIFA Medical Officer, I realize again that the human being is the same regardless of race, ethnicity, and place of birth or residence. The smiles, the laughs, the cries and the disappointments are always the same. Through sport we are able to truly understand and embrace these similarities, a great lesson on how to celebrate and embrace the differences in our world.

5. The US Men's National team is unique for its optimism, positivism, passion and 'never say die' attitude. They chose every opportunity to express victory even in the face of being out-manned and out-gunned. They waited for moments of opportunity, even when odds and the clock were against them to succeed. They have become champions to themselves and to the American people, 25 million strong.

Every fan can see themselves in that setting: wishing and wondering, "Can I pull it off?" When there is hope and optimism beyond the passion, the answer is a resounding YES! That is the Win Within. And it transcends every scorecard, tournament and match. Once you've achieved it, it's a clock that never runs out.

~ Bert

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