You get fans from all over the world hanging out in mega stadiums, yelling and cheering and painting themselves in their national colours singing their national anthems, hugging strangers and learning new words for "goal," "foul," and "referee!"
You also get a chance for matches between countries that rarely play against each other. A new opponent, a new tactic, a new chance for an upset. Tonight for example, I'll be sporting my American flag t-shirt hoping with all my heart that my team gives it their all against Hubster's English side. It's not often that our countries play against each other in any sport, so I'm eagerly looking forward to making the kids take sides and singing "Oh say can you see..." very, very loudly.
Of course, I've got my work cut out for me since Mini-Husband has already told us that he roots for England, then France and then China. When I asked him what he would do if the USA played China he replied,
"I'd root for the USA and a little bit for China."
I think I smell the need for a little American intervention.
I love this tournament even if it's just because it's the perfect way to legitimately pick sides and hope someone loses. For example, us last night rooting against France. A golden opportunity to explain to our kids some of the ironies of life:
"Sure, sweeties, we live in France, but Daddy and I want that other team to win because they don't use their hands..."
Ah, the World Cup. Such fun. Such hype. Such a simple game.
It's amazing what that little white ball can do, isn't it?