I believe in futbol, the beautiful game. More commonly known as soccer where I’m from, but in this country we don’t know the sport, not like the rest of the world.
During the World Cup I read an article in the paper about how soccer is too low-scoring to get excited about, not like football and baseball. But the beautiful game is not just about the score when the referee’s watch hits the 90-minute mark. It’s about what happens within that hour-and-a-half that moves people.
The beautiful game is when a player sprints the length of the green to find the ball right on his laces, perfectly timed by a teammate. It’s about that same player shooting a rocket from 30 yards out that meets the net in the upper ninety of the goal, leaving a hair’s space between the ball and the posts.
The beautiful game is about the finesse of the Brazilian team, they don’t just run and dribble, they dance with the ball. This team has made an art out of beating an opponent, rarely settling for a sloppy, careless, or lazy move that will get the job done just the same.
The beautiful game is about Henri, who can outrun any defender who stands in his way of the goal, Drogba, who can cut, scissor, and shuffle past the best defenders in the world, and Ronaldo, who appears to know the placement of the goal so well he could score a free kick with his eyes closed.
The beautiful game is on the field, but the passion that it invokes is seen in the stands, the streets, the pubs, and anywhere else that the colorfully painted, costumed fans can cram themselves into.
I believe in the word GOOOOAAAALLL that can move a stadium of 70,000 fans like nothing else I’ve ever seen. I believe in the ability of a player to “put the ball in the back of the old onion sack,” as one announcer put it. I believe that futbol is a sport, but it’s also something you feel inside of you, a way of life, and a passion that unites people all over the world. Futbol has taught me more about life than any teacher or school could have, and so it is in this, the beautiful game, that I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.