All Eyes On Us – The Pitch of Ages

By 15 July 2018

July 15, 2018 - Croatia takes on France in the World Cup Final later today. And the world is watching. All of us. 

The last FIFA World Cup final reached 3.2 billion viewers. That is half of the planet. All eyes will be on us. Not just on the players, but also outside of the pitch. What will be happening at the stadium, how will the crowd react, and the fans in Russia? What is going on in Croatia? In Zagreb, in Split, in Zadar, in Sikirevci or on Velebit? The world will search, Google it, tape and take photos. Thousands of media outlets all around the world will be writing about Croatia for days and months to come. Millions of articles, YouTube videos, and social media posts.

It reallydoesn'tt matter if we win or lose, the moment is here. The big final and everyone wants a good story. And we are a great story! All eyes will not just be turned towards Croatia but to all the Croats around the world. From Punta Arenas, the doorstep of Antartica, across the Tarara people on the shores of Pacific, to the working class heroes of Cleveland. So what we do back home, and what we do around the world will echo the planet. It is time to step up.

„Why is Croatia so good in sports?“ is the kind of title that you can see going around a lot last couple of days, and most of the answers are connected with national pride and affinity to the sport, but I think this world cup final gives yet another answer. The players look like they are playing for their lives. My favorite moment was in the game against England. In the second extra time when Croatia was leading, Modrić lost the ball, he had no juice left in him. His legs gave out, he gave the ball away without pressure. And then, without any life in him, he sprinted back to stop Rashford, 13 years younger player that came in as a sub. He slid in to kick the ball out so that his teammates can fall back. As he did that, he was left lying on the ground having no strength left in him, and Vrsaljko picked him up immediately to help him get back in his position, like saving a fallen comrade in the middle of the battlefield.

Are they playing for their lives? What if this type of strength comes from the pure urge to survive? But we call it pride. The pride that we are still here. Against all odds. Not just as a team, but as people. So small in numbers, 0.05% of the total world population. We are the margin of error. We are a miracle. We are walking, talking, running,  kicking UNESCO world heritage. Every single one of us is as rare as an elf. And now all eyes are on us. And we can all feel this. When 50% of the world looks at 0.05%  of the world, it becomes mythical. We know this is our chance to survive. Greater nations than ours perished. 

But will we use it? Will we step up? Not the players, but everyone else? What will we show them when they look? Our culture, our life? Our hopes and dreams? Our future? Or our past? Are we nice people? Are we happy and care for others? Do we need something? Do we need help or friends? Partners and comrades?  What are our plans and ideas? What do we have to show, what do we have to offer? Our nature, our people, all of our success? If there was ever a time to try, to create, to risk, to dream big and take a shot, it is this time.

 Are the bakers ready? Are the cheesemakers?

This will be the pitch of Ages.