The S is for Saving. Because soccer literally saves lives. Just think about all the South American children hanging in the streets. How many times did one of these kids get a life-changing opportunity because of his football skills? How many stars are now known world-wide thanks to soccer? And then think about the kids who are mad at the world. Those who want to prove a point. Those who need to channel their energy into something positive. They all turned to sports. So they could express their anger and show what they’re capable of. And that is called killing two birds with one stone.
The O stands for Others. Because yes, soccer is and will always remain the result of a team effort. And if you cannot keep that in mind, then you shouldn’t even try football. It’s easy to be a good teammate to your best friend. It’s like hating on your teacher. The trick, however, is to play in the same team as someone you cannot stand. Then we’ll see if once your enemy is free and faced towards the goal, you’ll find the strength to pass the ball. If not, you’d better be ready to stay on the bench. Because that’s the only place the coach will let you stay.
Now the double C. It stands for Courage, there’s no doubt about that. Because being a football player is no different from being a performer. Actually it’s even harder, because you don’t know what to expect. If you’re having a concert, the show relies on you doing exactly as rehearsed. But if you’re taking part in a match, nothing’s up to you. All you can do is give the best you can. The rest depends on the strategy your coach had planned, the attitude of your teammates, the shape of the opponent… Nothing’s planned in advance. No one can guess what will happen. You just go out there, in front of millions of people here to see you, and you give them a show. Something good, something they will enjoy watching. And you risk it. You give your performance, and you risk making a mistake that everyone will see. But most of the time you don’t care. Because you’re doing something you love, and you have the courage to deal with whatever it’s gonna cost.
The E is definitely for Experience. Because as long as you haven’t tried it out, you cannot get it. You can’t understand what I’ve been drooling about. How could you? You have to feel it first. Soccer is a unique experience that everyone should have at least once in their lives. The feeling that you get, the joy that it gives you, that is a gift no one else can offer. After a hard training effort, you’re finally there, running on the perfect emerald grass. Feel the wind blowing in your face, hear the crowd shouting your name… The adrenaline that goes up along with your mood, the terrible pain that you choose to ignore because running is definitely worth it… The odd energy you still have left when it’s all over, the feeling that you can reach the stars and touch the moon… You haven’t lived until you have felt all of it.
And last but not least, the R. I’ve been staring at my screen, wondering what on earth could start with an ‘R’ and define soccer, when it suddenly struck me. REWARD. The result of a hard effort. At the end of the day, the satisfaction is clear in your sparkling eyes, when you know you have given your best. And when you walk out of the stadium, you look into the eyes of the people you were trying to impress, and you find what you were looking for: pride.
There is no better way of getting rewarded.