Growing up in Canada where hockey dominates the interest of athletes, I’ve often been asked – and even ridiculed – as to why I love soccer so much. How can I love a game that is so slow and so boring in comparison to the upbeat sport this country has fallen in love with? How hard can it possibly be to just kick a ball around? My answer is this…
Two words: passion and discipline.
The passion in which players, coaches, teams and fans take part in the game is like nothing else on earth. The flare, skill, heartbreak, joy…anything is possible.
To watch 11 men on each side of the field working in unity towards a united goal makes you understand and respect the ultimate discipline involved.
To help me explain, this poem by Ahmed Waheed Sarmed depicts why so many love to play:
The free-kick man
The frightened Goalkeeper
In a moment of restless
For the stars to deliver
Here! All eyes on the star to deliver
There! All eyes on the goalie to deny
One bursts into tears
The other in cheers
Sounds of joys
Murmuring of Cries
Fulls the whole environment
Football is a passion
That Burns the Whole body
–Ahmed Waheed Sarmed
I want you to watch this following video. It is a highlight package of a recent clash between two of the top clubs in Spain, and arguably in the world: Real Madrid and Barcelona. These teams carry a long history and are, consequently, arch rivals. Get a feel for how important this game is to the lives of not only the soccer players/coaches, but the fans and all others in attendance. Soccer takes on a bigger meaning, a better meaning. Feel the passion; feel the intensity; feel the energy.
Pay close attention to your stomach in moments of controversy as it twists and turns anxiously anticipating the next event. It is this feeling I get every time I play and every time I watch. Maybe you’ll understand why I, along with the rest of the world, have fallen in love with the beautiful game.