Just Give Me a F****** Chance
Ever wonder why football is the most popular sport on the planet? Agree, it just is; but there are reasons as to why this magnificent expression of poetry on grass is played and followed with such passion only paralleled by Will Smith trying to get a job in ‘The Pursuit of Happyness.’
Did you know that over 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 per day? – YES, over 80% of the world’s population lives in poverty – an astonishing fact in itself. However, the charm of the beautiful game is that the entire 80% can play football. There is no need for registration, equipment, clothing etc. All you need is something round (handmade if necessary) and yourself. What the aforementioned population bring to the game is a passion transcendent to anyone else. Much of the time, they are playing with heavy hearts, tired minds and worn bodies. Football brings an exuberance which at times, is a reason to live.
Just look at all of the footballers of today that grew up in hardship: Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Alexis Sanchez, Lionel Messi, Yaya Toure, Luis Suarez, Angel Di Maria – I can go on all day listing more. They fought misfortune and misery to encroach upon success proceeding to blow right through the entry door. They grasped opportunity with both hands as they ‘needed’ too. It was their only way out.
Compare the celebratory instincts of footballers with other sports – they can be rather exhuberant but think about where that intensity comes from. Passion has a habit of becoming overwhelming and bringing the strongest of mankind to their knees. Each celebration has a meaning from within which is sometimes expressive of a release of mental and physical tension. Yes, at times it can be a big ‘fuck you’ to the world for doubting me but I love that – that’s what it’s all about. Wear your heart on your sleeve and bring the passion.
Football often gets painted with the poor man’s brush by the upper echelon of society; often degraded due to the habits of the players that represent the sport. Sports like Rugby and Hockey are held in high esteem due to the conservatism of their participants. Without meaning to discredit these great sporting competitions, their grassroots do not come from the general depravity which the foundation of football is built upon. I don’t have the statistics but I’d say that a large number of professional footballers come from the 80% - the passion to succeed often comes from the likelihood that you won’t.
What differentiates Canada from the most magnificent footballing nations in the world such as Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Spain and France? Perhaps it has nothing to do with the technical ability of footballers or the management philosophies of coaches. Maybe the sheer passion and desire to win is greater amongst players who were told they couldn’t. After all, at least a portion of players who compete for greatest footballing nations in the world were raised poor.
Canada wrongly focuses a lot on the creation of elitist development (ie pay to play). The players that participate usually come from the 20% therefore the competition is one mindset centric. It’s an ethos that doesn’t usually comprise of massive grit and perseverance. If you were to mix the 80% with the 20% you immediately change the scope of the competition. The diversity encourages different characteristics to mesh and create an uplifting passion which almost certainly increases the chances of collaborative success. If we continue down the same path, we won’t even maintain our already dismal standing on the world stage.
Did you know that 9.5% of Canada’s population lives in poverty which represents approximately 3.2 million people?
How many of them play organized football?