NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D. – Two brothers from South Dakota got to experience the tournament in person. However, their decision to travel halfway across the world wasn’t only because the United States was playing.
“I’ve been following the world cup since 2014. 2018 came around and it happened to be on while, you know, our dad was passing away. He was on hospice and every morning we’d get up and say ‘alright, who’s playing today?” Preston Pratt said.
Dustin and Preston Pratt spent the final moments with their father while the 2018 World Cup was unfolding.
“Every morning we would look forward to it, it was awesome. So that was really my first like ‘this sport is incredible. If that wasn’t even happening, I don’t know what we would’ve done. So it was pretty fortunate that we had that memory together. It was like the only element of joy in a sad time,” Dustin Pratt said.
On July 4th, 2018, Mitch Pratt lost his battle with Cancer.
One year later, Dustin approached his brother with an idea.
“I’m like Preston, where is this at? We got to go the next time around and we looked it up, it was in Doha and Preston had the same response,” Dustin Pratt said.
“I did a quick google search and I was like Doha, Qatar, like no we’re not going to the middle east to watch a soccer tournament,” Preston Pratt said.
“And of course Preston was of course resistant, but a little persuasion and a trip to Israel and there, and he finally agreed,” Dustin Pratt said.
Dustin and Preston planned a trip to visit Jerusalem, Petra, and ultimately ending up at the heart of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. A day prior to traveling, the brothers decided they would honor their late father.
“Our dad, right before he passed away, he gave us…pocket watches. It’s got a picture of us in there. And then we took those chains from the pocket watches and we wore them to every game,” Preston Pratt said.
The brothers had the pocket watch chains blessed in Jerusalem before travelling to Qatar.
“There was the anointment slab where like Jesus’ body was prepared in the church and so, we were able to go there, have that blessed on that stone and then we wore it to all the games,” Dustin Pratt said.
In Qatar, the Pratt brothers shared their story with people from all walks of life.
“It was great to just have these human interactions. Everyone there is just fired up and there to have a good time and support. So you can have like in-depth conversations with these people that normally maybe wouldn’t be approachable just cause we’re all gathered for the same reasons,” Dustin Pratt said.
“Anyone that you know, kind of found out why we were there was like ‘it’s bigger than soccer,” Preston Pratt said.
After 12 days and 5 World Cup matches in the Middle East, Dustin and Preston returned home. The near 10,000 miles in the air gave them time to reflect on their journey.
“Along the way, I had really been like taking it in, so I’ve had these moments of just like ‘I can’t believe we were here and doing this,” Dustin Pratt said.
“Like dude we just saw a world wonder, we just saw Jerusalem, we just went to a world cup match like how many people in their lives can say they’ve done any of that,” Preston Pratt said.