Thursday, June 01, 2006

Soccer (Football) and National Unity

Iranians may disagree on many points and they do disagree profoundly on some basic issues. As a nation Iranians have millions of ways to do any simple task, and even more ways to justify that. However they do have their agreements. A majority believe in Iran’s right to a regional leadership role, a larger majority believe in Norouz. But even a larger majority believe in Soccer or as they call it Football.

No matter what political conviction one holds in any tournament they all cheer lead Iran national team; “Team Melli”. These white wearing young guys who chase a ball mystify them in way that they forget their differences. In LA, this melting pot of Iranian immigrants, one would not be surprised to see the adherent monarchists watching the game with their more traditional countrymen, who support the current government. In Iran mothers who usually ban TV for the youngsters, would join the enthusiastic TV watchers. One had better be ready with latest updates; they all will be talking about it. Be aware I do not know any who would kill you over political reasons, but I do know some, PhD holding intelligent fellows, who would kill any ill wisher, watching Team Melli playing the World Cup.

And here it comes, the final quest, the only one that really matters, The World Cup. Let’s forget political turmoil, let’s forget nuclear issues, let’s forget rising prices, let’s just sit and enjoy some good soccer. And this year Iran National Team is ready, they had a long practice, they played some good games, scored 2-2 against Croatia and 5-2 against Bosnia. People are happy, many are thinking this might be it; Iran might qualify for the next round. But it is a tough call, Iran is playing with Mexico, Angola and Portugal.

So Iran might be a developing country with a diverse set of issues and problems, and Iranians might be a nation of individuals without much agreements, but do not dare to question their national unity in their quest in the World Cup. That is kinda important, more than life itself.

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