The 2013 Confederations Cup previews the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil with some of the world’s best teams in contention for a major world trophy. However, the tournament has been marred by protests before and after almost every game by the Brazilian people.
Situations such as the ongoing protests in Brazil are where sports meet reality. This isn’t even the main tournament, and yet the protests are already beginning. These protests will continue throughout this tournament and the next, because Brazilians want change and see an opportunity through worldwide recognition to get it.
As the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup looms nearer, the world’s attention will turn to the South American country. Small protests that would be just a footnote in a newspaper or on a website worldwide become headlines. The Brazilian people realize that this is the perfect time to encourage positive change.
I lived with a Brazilian exchange student last year, as well as spent a lot of time with the Brazilians that came with him. Out of all the conversations that we had, one of our last before he returned home stuck with me the most. He explained to me the harsh reality of slums, drugs, violence and political corruption that had seemingly happened and were still happening in areas of Brazil.
As an American, you rarely get this type of perspective on a situation. You can read an article from USA Today or or the BBC about issues in another country, but you don’t get to look into the eyes of the people who it affects and see the passion and pain as they speak of the very real problems of the country that they love. Every single Brazilian I met loved Brazil, and they all knew that the responsibility of fixing the problems rested on their generation’s shoulders. This type of innate longing to turn their beloved home into a better place for everyone struck me as spectacular and admirable.
The Brazilian people see this international tournament as a way to force the world to take notice of them, as well as convince the government to make changes based on worldwide pressure. The president of Brazil recently stated that the protesters were being heard by the government, which is a definite win for the Brazilian people. As the world’s greatest tournament comes to Brazil next summer, expect the protests to continue, because they have been largely successful.
Sometimes the world’s most popular sport becomes the world’s best place to change the world.