“Patriotism” is commonly associated with a political interpretation that can be viewed in both a positive and negative approach. George Orwell called it a “devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally.”As seen in much of history, patriotism can be detrimental when the involvement of war is present.
Yet, we can transcend political patriotism into sports in a different way. Suddenly, we create a positive recipe for anticipation, excitement, and aggressive sportsmanship. Military becomes non-existent, foul play becomes entertaining, and fans rise above their day-to-day comfort zones in support for their country’s sporting franchise to prove one point: that their team is better than yours (in the most non-political fashion).
Loyalty to a country during the FIFA World Cup is a convergence point between sports and politics. No matter where a man currently resides or where he stands in political judgment, chances are he’s rooting for his hometown. Cultural differences are replaced with advocates of soccer teams (known as “football” to most of the world), and all anyone wants to discuss are playoff schedules.
That being said, Iran’s entrance in the 2014 FIFA World Cup is substantial to all Iranians, Iranian-Americans, and first generation Americans with Iranian parents.
After failing to qualify for South Africa’s 2010 World Cup when placed in 4th, motivation was at an all time low. Soccer players from other countries wore green wristbands in protest of the outcome of the election. Iran was striving to progress a change politically, and Iranian youth yearned for their voice to be heard.
Fast-forward three years to July 2013, and Iran’s soccer team has been qualified for its fourth appearance ever in the FIFA World Cup.
As this year’s election has a historical significance with president elect Hassan Rouhani. Iran’s win against South Korea created the same, if not greater significance this past year, causing a stir of emotion and excitement for their qualification to compete in Brazil. President Rouhani stated his administration will give full support to the team, and will even promote رsports.
One thing is for certain: political views aside, national pride exists with soccer teams.