World Cup 2022: We Own The Game But We’re Letting FIFA Borrow It
by Ken Schreiner
Where and when will the biggest football match of the year be played? Qatar, December 18? No, November 4 in Duluth, Minnesota. Why not the World Cup 2022 final that will feature Messi, Ronaldo, or the other hugest names in the soccer world? Because the Duluth tilt will be the latest to include the most important player alive: Me.
Is it because, at 68, I’m among the galaxy’s oldest, active booters? Is it my stunning, inspirational comeback after almost getting killed during a match in 1980? Or because my free kicks strike fear into opponents and fans alike — not due to their power but because of their potentially fatal inaccuracy? Again, no. It’s something larger and more singular.
But what could be larger and more singular than the World Cup? 1) The game of football itself and 2) A person who plays it — in this case, Ken Schreiner of Duluth, Minnesota. November 4 is the final game of the season for me and my teammates, who are, of course, fellow owners. Afterwards, it will be sad to box up the boots and balls for the next few months. But if the temperature breaks 30 in January, we may light up the TeamSnap thread, organize an impromptu match, and reassert our dominion over the game we love and, as we all now know, own.
Now, you may argue that football is owned by Arab oil sheiks, Russian oligarchs, Hollywood actors, German sporting goods makers, private equity, breweries, and Elton John. But that’s THE SPORT, the business. We the People own THE GAME. We confirm our right and duty to possess and maintain it every time we grab a ball, old can, or stuffed sheep bladder (still possibly used in Estonia) and kick it around — even if it’s just in the living room. BTW, adding a net to this exercise will help distinguish it from kickball, whose ownership consists of socially-challenged ten-year-olds and those who think baseball is somehow not boring enough.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy watching whiny, overpaid demigods torture each other and I’ll be watching the World Cup with billions of my global friends and neighbors. But you can bet your fresh-off-the-truck, 80-inch UHD TV that I’ll be glad when it’s over, I never see those made-for-Jackass fast food ads again, and my fellow owners and I get back together, forgetting who won what, and reminding humanity who really rules the pitch.