Over the next month, the media spotlight will turn to Brazil, for the 2014 World Cup, where 32 teams have earned a place to battle it out. Except that in football, it ain’t over until it’s over. And a group of US senators have written to FIFA to have Russia excluded from the games, as part of the sanctions against them. This is possibly better than allowing Russia and the USA to actually play each other and thereby potentially start WWIII. Although the interesting thing is that if Russia is dropped, the most likely replacement will be Israel, who might end up playing Iran! Time will tell.
The idea it ain’t over until it’s over was central to the founder of the modern day Mussar movement - Rabbi Yisrael Salant (1810 - 1883). One day he observed a cobbler working late into the light, by the light of a candle stub. When he queried why he was still at work, the cobbler replied: “As long as there is light, it’s still possible to repair.” This one-liner became a refrain for R’ Yisrael’s mussar: As long as there’s life we can still achieve, we can still change for the better. Never give up early.
Of course every rule has an exception. In the very first world cup, France were playing Mexico and were headed for goal. In order to stop that happening, the Brazilian referee blew the full time whistle even though there was still 6 minutes left - and for once it was over before it really was over!
Have a great Summer!