It’s Not Just Football

An impromptu poem, to get out my jitters as I wait for this game to start.

” I’m not into this movie at all” I think to myself while I curl up on my couch. Home alone- an otherwise glorious me time of fat free chocolate ice cream and Oscar Nominees.

Not tonight. On the night before the big game, I can’t concentrate on anything but Mr. Golden Boy, #10 and the swoosh, swoosh, swoosh of the net.

A childhood steeped in football, samba, cafe com leite and fresh squeezed orange juice provides the foundation for the few hours of sleep I get tonight. I dream of the glories if World Cup ’94, of sweet pineapple and my feet- younger and faster then, chasing a soccer ball across the field at camp.

The wind in my hair, the sun on my back, the meanie head at my side trying to push me out of the way.

And today, as I sit in this restaurant, the smells of my football shaped heritage- rice, beans, Brazilian pico and steak- my muscles have clearly gotten the memo that in about an hour and fifteen, the national anthem will start-

And I will sing along because I STILL know every word. And something will happen to me.

Deep inside, a fire ignites- quite Pavlovian a response, really, as my team walks onto the field. As our savior as it were – for the time being, lucky # 10 walks onto the field- as our waving flag comes to life

Those gathered here know- this isn’t just football. This is life and death, blood, sweat, tears. Unimaginable pressure as the hosts face off against a team that has it in for them.

I guarantee I’m not the only person in this place who has been praying for the last 3 days- fervently seeking favor for this team. Because it’s not just football for us.

Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, CHEER, players darting back and forth. You can almost hear our anthem in the wind that carries their feet across the grass. It’s the big time.

Every Brazilian child living in a cardboard box dreams of a better life. Their parents long to give them more than a scraping by life.

These are the souls for whom our flag waves- the reason we rejoice in this beautiful game.








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