Opinion, by Michael Royster

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – As ancient mariners told the tale, the Doldrums were that part of the ocean near the equator where the winds die down completely, leaving sailing ships bereft of movement for weeks, inducing “inactivity, listlessness and mild depression”.

Since 1930, however, once every four years as the sun nears its solstice, the doldrums expand their reach to points far south of the Equator, indeed to the Tropic of Capricorn and beyond.

In Brazil, this recurring quaternary function is called “Copa do Mundo”. “Mundo” means “World” and “Copa” is best . . .

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