Hooray – the Football World Cup starts today! Eagerly anticipated, and hard earned, 32 teams will be fighting it out for the ultimate prize in football.
What is it about big worldwide sporting events that we love? I think the one word that sums it up is HOPE.
We all hope our teams will do well – I hope that England will win it this year. We hope the underdog will overcome the odds; we hope there will be some fantastic goals; we hope this World Cup will draw South Africa together as the 1995 Rugby World Cup did.
Big sporting events capture our imagination because they demonstrate what is good and great about life – friendship, fun, common purpose, unity – they give us hope for something better, they draw us back to who we really are.
And music has its part to play in all this – it provides the sound track to this joy and hope. Who can forget the the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and the Freddie Mercury song or how the 1990 World Cup took opera, Pavarotti and Nessun Dorma to global acclaim well outside the hallowed turf of the world’s opera houses.
Hope is the name of the song which has been recorded for the opening ceronony by Siphiwo Ntshebe, who tragically died shortly after recording it. I had the privilege of seeing Siphiwo perform live at a corporate event in South Africa six years ago. His performance back then was wonderful and his passing is a great great loss to South Africa and the world.
The playing of Hope at the Opening Ceromony today will be moving – it will be sad because Siphiwo is no longer with us; yet the hope he gave to many during his life, will be multiplied to the billions watching the opening ceremony today.
Enjoy the World Cup and hold on to hope.