The other day my brother sent me an instant message letting me know that the World Cup trophy would be in Toronto on display to the public all day long at the CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Knowing this, I had to see it with my own eyes.
When you think about it there is so much attention on the game of soccer and World Cup finals but the trophy itself does not receive as much attention until the final game. Seeing the trophy on tv is one thing but seeing it in person is an entirely different.
The CBC had created an exciting atmosphere for the public to enjoy. I arrived before the trophy was revealed so I walked around seeing what other hype there was. Coca Cola is a one of the major sponsors for the World Cup so there was basically a street team of young energetic kids who were setting up all kinds of Coke products, banners, flyers and booths to market their product.
There were people playing FIFA 2010 for Xbox on large screen tv’s throughout the building. There were kids soccer teams juggling soccer balls and playing target games where there was a shooting target range. Juggling competitions were being held with all kinds of prizes that were given out.
Soccer music including the World Cup theme song “Waving Flag” by Toronto’s very own K’naan was playing along with other samba music and soccer songs. Listen below to the official World Cup theme song.
Then there were the broadcasters speaking at a desk where behind them the World Cup was in a glass case and covered with a black blanket until it would be revealed at noon.
One of the broadcasters was former Canadian national team captain, Jason De Vos. De Vos is now retired and working as a broadcaster for the CBC. He grew up in my native London, Ontario and seeing him in person was interesting. He is the one player out of London to make the most for himself in his soccer career having played for the Montreal Impact, Darlington, Dundee United, Wigan Athletic and Ipswich Town and appearing 49 times for the national team. De Vos is a tall man and would certainly pose a challenge to any forward.
Making the event open to the public was great. There were no long line-ups, no issues with crowd control. Everyone was enjoying the atmosphere and couldn’t wait to see the cup revealed. It reminded me of the anticipation for Christmas and the excitement of working at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic games.
The moment finally came when the cup was revealed and the first thing was an awe and flashes started going off. My heartbeat had drastically increased and the joy and excitement for the game of soccer only became stronger. I began messaging several friends and telling them where I was wishing they could experience it. An interesting side note is that only the winners of the trophy can touch it which is why the trophy is sealed in a glass case when on display to the public.
Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world and this particular day was no different. I saw people of every skin colour and heard at least four different languages, all expressing their excitement to witness the cup. While waiting for the World Cup trophy to be revealed I spoke with a French news crew about the excitement the trophy and game brings. I am bilingual (English/French) and here was a great example of different nationalities, languages and people from all different backgrounds coming together and uniting in a common cause of joy for the beautiful game.
Later in the day I was in a taxi and telling the cab driver about my experience seeing the cup and being in that exciting atmosphere at the CBC. The cab driver was so excited that he decided to take an hour out of his day to go see for himself. He specifically wanted to see K’naan perform live. K’naan was scheduled to perform later in the day. For a brief moment that cab driver and I forgot all about the traffic and other things that may have been going on in our lives and discussed different national teams, players, formations and why we think certain countries will have a great tournament.
My time at the CBC was no longer than an hour but a memorable one indeed. I will remember it for many years to come. If you ever have the chance to experience something live no matter the event I suggest doing so. It is difficult to describe the joy one can feel until they truly are immersed in the spectacle. I got a taste of it and can only imagine how the players in the World Cup will feel when they play to hoist the cup.