This morning, my friend and fellow soccer player Zach posted this trailer for an upcoming documentary, Pelada:
His comment? “I’m jealous, inspired, happy and amazed, all at the same time. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to love something that, at it’s core, is universal and beautiful.” He could be talking about family. I think that’s the secret: when we talk about soccer, we are talking about family.
Those who play, get it. Many who watch do, too. What is it about this sport that connects us on such a visceral and immediate level? It’s like a special language, a global club, and you need not play well – or even play at all – to be included. You must only recognize the dialect.
I have seen first hand how quickly, passionately and unreservedly we answer the call. We instantly announce our support for The Positive Ladies Soccer Club, calling for showings in our cities and offering to raise funds. The team behind Pelada is asking for funds to complete post-production; donate and find out more about the film on their site.
Closer to home, volunteers in four major cities stepped up to donate and transport bags of quality equipment to a township team in South Africa, just because I asked. How beautiful and amazing is that? When I received the pictures of the Mountain Birds in their new team jerseys, I printed it and hung it on the wall with my other team photos – because they, too, have become family.
And just this morning as I passed a freshly inked prescription for a puffer over the counter to my local pharmacist I commented that I hoped my respiratory problems weren’t chronic. “I play soccer,” I told him proudly, and it was as if I’d uttered a password. From that second on we were speaking the same language. He coached, he told me. “I’ve been up since six – I had to watch the Africa Cup.” When he showed me how to use the inhaler there was none of the usual impatience of commerce. He met my eyes to make sure I understood. Family takes care of family.