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Try something new: Watch the World Cup

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Work-Life Balance is about balance, not stasis, so try something different every now and then. Exposing yourself to something unfamiliar allows your mind to think in a new realm of possibilities. You can expect to learn, be more creative, and have new conversation topics. For anyone but the most ardent soccer (football to the rest of the world) fan, the World Cup provides an excellent opportunity.

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The World Cup is scheduled every four years. Until recently, it was difficult to be able to watch matches in the United States. Initially, only Spanish-speaking radio and TV covered the event. The English-speaking stations in the US have attempted to add programming as the sport has grown in popularity, but the best coverage in the US remains with Spanish-speaking television. Do not let this worry us “Spanish Second Language” types. Spanish-speaking television has re-formatted their coverage to make it not only high-tech, but also easy to understand. Besides, once of the best spectator sport experiences is hearing the excited “Gooooooooal!” when a team scores.

Give yourself over to the experience. Sure, a quick review of rules, and a handy translator might help, but try watching in the company of others. Yes, perhaps even meet a whole new group of people. Any sports bar should have a few screens devoted to World Cup matches. British-styled pubs and Mexican cantinas will be rich with patrons will to share their excitement and disappointment. You don’t have to have a favorite team, and can continue to cheer for whatever team pleases you as the tournament continues.

For 2014, “group” play is over. That reduces the daily matches to two and then one. Devote three hours to watch an entire game. You will be able to see some of the pre-show, and allow enough time to break a tie. Games are midday in the US, so weekday watching can be difficult without a fan for a boss. Weekend games are great opportunities for a viewing party or for a lunch out in a festive environment.

You may not conclude your 2014 World Cup as a new fan, but you will have a better understanding of the sport that is so popular throughout the world. Your heart will be warmed by the efforts of teams and individual players. A quick look at the bandaged faces of players shows the effects of the “grey area” of this “non-contact” sport. That, and the subtleties of officiating, will provide much fuel for future conversations. Enjoy!

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