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This Sunday the sun sets for the last time at the World Cup tournament. Tonight a new champion will be crowned as Spain squares off with Holland. Unfortunately, it will not be the USA (again), but my experience at the World Cup will stay with me for a long time. From the vuvuzela vibrations, to writing a new USA chant, I soaked up the incredible energy that filled a country and a continent.

But still, who will win it?

If I use my own Sunday Sunset as a guide (not the Octopus) it would be a 1-1 draw. On prior Sundays I posted sunset images from the canal in Amsterdam, Holland and also the beach of  San Sebastian, Spain. But today we will have a winner.

Yes.

Yet, I truly believe the tournament is more than winners and losers.  This tournament unites people, it unites nations, it even unites humanity. It is something really special. Amazing actually. And to mark this special occasion, I decided to share an image from Rustenburg, South Africa taken during one of my moments at the World Cup.

On the evening on June 12th, when we packed up our tailgate I took this photo of a fan heading to the match as the sun set behind the mountains. That night the USA started its world cup campaign with a draw with a 1-1 against England.

the sun dips behind the mountains at the USA Worldcup tailgate

So, Happy Sunset Sunday to all the football (soccer) fans from all across the globe who will be enjoying the final tonight. A final played in Soccer City (not Football City), South Africa.

stay adventurous, Craig

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the stars and stripes plays the vuvuzela too...

What a match, what a goal. Ah, it keeps the USA vuvuzela blowing loud. Let’s continue the ride.

Stay adventurous on the pitch, Craig

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After attending USA vs England in Rustenburg, South Africa I became aware once again that my national team’s chant of ” USA…USA…USA” needs a friend. In a nation that celebrates variety and creativity, I believe us Americans can sing more than just our “go to USA…” at the stadium.  In fact, many other fans from other nations with less history and success in the World Cup Finals have better chants, and it seems the English fans reminded me (not always politely) about this very fact.

No matter, I still supported the Stars and Stripes earnestly and enjoyed the team’s well deserved result.  But I’ll admit I began to ponder about a new chant.

my tailgate for USA in Rustenberg

Then on the twenty-eight hour passage from Pretoria to Cape Town aboard the Blue Train, at a time when stay adventurous also identified with stay luxurious, I decided to take action as a writer. Over some early morning arrival cocktails, I drafted a few simple words, phrases on a napkin. I liked it.

...scribbling a new chant, song?

Come on USA

We came to play

Come on USA

Let’s win today

Come on USA

Time to dominate

Come on USA

World Cup Trophy is our Fate

Well, it’s a start. And I am certainly open to all your suggestions. But in either case, I shall blow my Vuvuzela and lead the new cheer at a local bar (in NYC) next Wednesday when USA plays Algeria in a match we need to advance. Come on USA ….

Stay adventurous, Craig

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“This is the first time I ever saw so many whites in Soweto,” a smiling store owner said to the local news.

Orlando Stadium

I agree, this was news. Orlando Stadiun, located in Soweto, the all black suburb of Johansburg and the epicenter of the student uprising of 1976 recently hosted an all South African Super 14 Rugby final. In the match, the Bulls defeated the Storms in a sport I am actually starting to understand (and really appreciate.)  But the setting was the story. Soweto served as a place for continued healing. A place for bringing the rainbow naiton together. A place where all South Africans watch the final and will also watch World Cup matches.

South African history may not be as pretty as its landscape, but Nelson Mandela decided not to live in the past. He chose to build for a future. He chose to  forgive.  Remarkable. And the more time I spend here, the more remarkable I tend to believe it is.

Now, he holds the world's top prize - the World Cup

If you watced the movie “Invictus” than you know how the South Africa used sport to help bring a divided nation together. (if not put it on your Netflix list – a must). And still people might point to commerce or laws as more effective means, but I tend agree with Mr Mandela, and believe the roots of such an event need to be in the simplistic. Sport is that simplistic. We can look to the past to see the ancient greeks and the Olympics to understand how sport celebrates man (and woman). How games celebrate humanity. How games (sports) bring us all together.

the world cup logo is everywhere....

Now in a few days, the countdown clocks are everywhere, the world will focus on South Africa.  The country plays host to the world’s largest event – the World Cup. Some infastructure may not be complete, but the stadiums, the nation, and the people are ready.

And I too am ready after nearly a month in Africa.  No, I am not ready for the increased “tourist tax”  charged by hotels and especially the hostels. But ready for the wave of emotion set to sweep across Africa and the world.

So yes, I’ll probably spend more than I thought. But I will look at it differently. I plan not to focus on the immediate economic impacts on myself (or even the nation of South Africa), but plan to watch and witness more than just the matches and “mistakes.”  I plan to be a part of the longer term value this World Cup brings to a nation, a continent, and the world. And I ask you, my readership, please join me in that thinking.

And join me – Go USA! Stay adventurous, Craig

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