Get your game on with trading pins for the FIFA World Cup!

As this post is being written, we are in the first days of the World Cup and trading pins abound. The excitement is contagious as millions of viewers across the world, and of course many in our little hometown of Idyllwild tune in each day to watch the amazing feats and sportsmanship of the teams playing. For The Monterey Company, it’s like a little taste of the Olympics all over again, and you know how much The Monterey Company loves the Olympics!

For those of you who don’t know, the World Cup is an international men’s Football, (Soccer as it is known in the United States) federation which is governed by FIFA or the Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Much like the Olympics, the World Cup takes place every 4 years and sponsors a series of games between the national men’s Football (Soccer) teams from across the world.

The tournament consists of 32 teams playing in a particular host country. This year it is being held in South Africa, and the games will last for roughly a month. At the end of the month, a series of awards will be given out in recognition of various achievements such as the following: Golden Ball for best player, Golden Shoe or “Boot” for top goalkeeper, Yashin Award for the best goalkeeper, Best Young Player Award for players that are of the age 21 years or younger, FIFA Fair Play Trophy for the team with the best record of fair play, and Most Entertaining Team for that special team that kept the audience entertained the most during the course of the month.

World Cup players are larger than life, and that is never as clear as when watching a young adult or child who also plays the game at school, watch the World Cup on television. It is just as inspirational as watching the Olympics. It provides our youngsters with shining examples of the results of hard work, dedication, passion for a sport and most importantly, team loyalty. I also think that watching these amazing games give many of our young people who love sports the awareness that they too can aspire to such athletic greatness. It’s no wonder that trading pins commemorating such events are created.

An example of this can be seen in Jay DeMerit, a defender for the US team, when he stated after the US vs England game, “The good thing about us is that we’ve shown in the past when bad things happen to us, we don’t really put our heads down and bow.” Lessons like this are rich in world sporting events. Encouraging kids to watch and really glean lessons from these players is important.

One way to support that is in the time old tradition of pin trading. Little leagues have been creating and trading pins for years, that commemorate team and year of play. The same can be done with the World Cup. Creating trading pins that symbolize favorite players and teams to then collect and trade with fellow sports friends is a great activity for kids. As one reader suggested, different teams in a league can create their own set of pins so that there are several different sets.

The trading pin activity can then be influenced by which team is winning and which players are really standing out in terms of performance. Not only will this engage the young World Cup watchers more fully into the event, but it will also facilitate their discussions about sportsmanship and how it relates to their own playing.

As for The Monterey Company? You can bet we will be glued to our TVs all month long!