Saturday, July 22, 2017

I Learned it All from Soccer...

I was born in the early 1950s in Mexico City. Back in those days and especially in my country of birth sports were not as popular with girls as they were with boys. I was never really interested in sports, I used to take ballet and piano lessons and always loved doing crafts of any kind, but that's a whole other story.

The only sports I've always loved watching are those where art prevails, like figure skating or gymnastics, I did try both of those when I was young but I was never very good at them, not sure why, perhaps I thought of myself as more fragile than I really was. I remember feeling afraid to try anything that went outside of my abilities. I tried many times to break that fear by attempting to learn sports like water or snow skiing, swimming, biking, running, even walking, but anytime I get into the habit of them something comes along to distract me from the consistent practice of a physical activity and every time I drop it, it takes me forever to get back.

The one sport that I really couldn't care less about because I've been inundated with it all my life is Soccer. That was the preferred sport where I grew up and lived the first 25 yrs., then when I became a mom my two kids became soccer players from the age of 3 and I was at every single practice and game for the next 10+ years.

Back in my childhood I had two brothers, my older brother was always focused on business and my younger brother David had Soccer in his heart. He had muscular dystrophy and by the age of 9 he was on a wheelchair so he never had a chance to play the sport he loved to watch, dream and talk about. "Gol del America!!!!" I remember him screaming when his favorite team scored. He might not have been on the field with his physical body, but he was in his heart and soul. He had created this simple quad notebook where he would cut 3 of the 4 sides of the little squares all over two pages side by side. They were cut in strategic areas and then he lifted as if it was a player standing up. Then he would roll a tiny little paper ball, make a goalie on each side and let the games begin.

He would make up his own games and became the player, announcer, referee even the team owner. He kept track of his games and his favorite team wasn't always the winner.

At the time I remember watching him and being in awe of what a great soccer announcer he was and now looking back I can see that he wasn't only living the game he was playing in it. I know that if he had lived longer he could have been a Soccer Announcer and become very loved and admired because of his strength of heart, passion for what he loved and the kindness and patience of an angel. I don't ever remember him complaining about his lot in life.

My uncles and cousins were also fans and players, I believe to this day some still play and so do their sons. Soccer was played at school and at the park, all you really need to play soccer is a flat field a black and while ball and a bunch of people of any age, race, social status, ability, gender, who want to run around kicking the ball and try to get it to hit that net that's being carefully guarded.

The years went on and I got remarried to an Italo/Argentinian. Are there any two groups of people who love soccer more? It turns out my husband feels the same way I do about soccer, but his son and now mine, who happens to live with us, LOVES!!!! and has been playing Soccer his whole life.

So these are just a few of the many things I've learned from Soccer.

No matter how good you are at it, how much money you make from it, how many people admire your skills, or how many goals you've scored, you still need a team who helps you along, who's not competing against you but rather giving you their gifts and talents so that you can score. And when you score they feel the same joy that you do because this is a team effort, just like family.

I'm convinced that even though David never got to play soccer, he felt as if he did, it gave him a reason to dream and not focus so much on his pain, it allowed him to feel passionate about something and it brought him many hours of entertainment, focus and excitement!

Even though I still don't care for soccer and wouldn't sit to watch a game by myself including the World Cup Finals, I have enjoyed every second that I've watched my brother, children, uncles, cousins, classmates, friends, neighbors play or get excited watching their team win. I get emotional when one of the countries where I have lived and felt at home wins a game. I have a foster son from Croatia that I haven't seen for years but I know how much he loves Soccer, so every time I hear the Croatian team won a game I think of him with love and joy.

Life is a simple game we play at every moment that doesn't require much, especially when we can play it together as a team.

"I Learned it All from Soccer"

Hugs xoxo

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