THE BEAUTIFUL GAME

Sori, 12 February 2019

“Pass the ball!”

“Over here!”

“Shoot!!”

“GOOOAAAAL!!!”

The children’s voices float up to me from the little soccer patch – “pitch” seems too big a word for that scrap of land – squeezed in between the village church and the houses across the lane, here in this village on the Ligurian coast.
A place where the village boys – and sometimes girls – can dream that one day they will be the nation’s heroes, idolized by millions.
In the meantime, though, their misplaced kicks are filling the gutters of the church.
In this land of steep hills falling straight into the sea, it’s difficult to carve out a decent soccer pitch, but the village elders do their best.
In truth, though, children can make do with very little to dream their dreams of future greatness.
Let them dream while they can. We adults know only too well that although many will hope to be called few will ever be chosen. And that those few will shine brilliantly in the heavens for but a few years before lapsing into obscurity for ever.

But while they shine they will dazzle us all with the sheer elegance, the almost balletic beauty, of their playing.
Yes, let the little ones dream. We adults will think instead about how to get the balls out of the church’s gutters without breaking our necks.

___________________________

France wins World Cup: https://indianexpress.com/article/fifa/fifa-world-cup-2018-winner-is-france-5260828/
Children playing in a park: https://www.delo.si/druzba/panorama/prehrana-za-vase-mlade-olimpijske-upe.html
Cuban children playing in the street: https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-cuban-children-playing-soccer-or-football-in-the-street-in-havana-138416743.html
S. African children playing football: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x202z1v
Cambodian children playing football: http://sydney.edu.au/news/482.html?newsstoryid=10712
Diego Maradona dribbling: https://www.storypick.com/41-iconic-football-photos/
Rooney’s scissors kicks: https://www.storypick.com/41-iconic-football-photos/
Header: https://www.mensjournal.com/sports/soccer-heads-13-best-header-goals-all-time/