So today starts the Euro championships in soccer, which is the toughest national-level trophy on earth to win in terms of sheer quality of opponents.
…Possibly the craziest, least pleasant but wildest of wildcards to keep an eye out for is Racism. Racism is a very big deal in "World Football" (as they call it), which is to say, the sport is in a multi-year, institutional, top to bottom fight against it. In the way the NFL used to hype the United Way (and now, arguably, does breast cancer), soccer has Racism, but much much more so. In the World Cup, in every game, teams came onto the field and posed around big signs that said “stop racism” or something before playing. I have no clue if individual players care at all about racism, anymore than NFL players care about breast cancer, but it’s a trophy topic.
You’d think this would be a) a big deal in the by-definition diverse World Cup but b) less so in the “Euros”. But apparently, its usually euro fans who end up being the most racist, so the drumbeat is on (the tourney is in Poland and Ukraine, both apparently well known for racist tendencies – several squads have made well-publicized trips to Auschwitz).