There are plenty of discussions, forums, blogs and soon to be Tweets about the World Cup, but for many its the in-person connections that matter.
Unlike the World Series or the Superbowl that bring groups of pre-existing friends together, the World Cup tends to bring acquaintances and coworkers together, many who do not have strong relationships with each other. Because of Soccer’s lack of universality within the US, it has a greater ability to connect people who might not normally be connected. The few soccer fans out there like to find their own and get together for a month every four years.
The World Cup is the one time that I meet with coworkers at 7:00 a.m. to cheer for a team. Most of the coworkers, are not people I work with every day.. At Microsoft they hold World Cup parties all over campus. Engineers who may have never met before are suddenly cheering for the same team and then collaborating on projects at halftime.
I’ll be placing friendly wagers with employees from the London, South Africa and Shanghai offices, even though I’ve never met them. And after the World Cup, I might even friend them on Facebook.