(As published in ‘Unique Times’)
Remember the invention of fire? It has changed the way people lived. We started cooking our food. Then, was the invention of the wheel. That’s when we started rolling things. It made moving around easier and faster. And invention didn’t stop there. Are you ready for a controversy? Imagine a world without balls, balls of various sorts. If you love this season, then you’ll be thinking about the ball that’s kicked into the goal. A magic of leather and air that weighs 430 grams. Welcome to this football season otherwise also known as soccer in many parts of the world!
The discovery of football as it is played today with appropriate rules and regulations may not have needed much intelligence. But, the excellence to which this game has evolved into deserves to get all the applause. This excellence in the players who represent the game can be merited as nothing short of genius. The size of the world of popularity, that a player enjoys does vary. Some are good at regional levels, others graduate to state levels. Very few football enthusiasts make it to the national level. For some, it is not enough. They want to be known at the international level. This steely league of sterling performers is the monopoly of the outstanding among the geniuses. They are the kings and even Gods. The football legend will be known as long as the game is played. Can you think of a few names? Well, George Best, Kevin Keegan, Ardillos, Platini and even Rudd Gullit & Franz Beckenbaur are among the few of tens of thousands of greats. Where do you fit in Pele, Maradona, Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar?
Perseverance, dedication, determination, pointed focus, and relentless passion to achieve nothing short of the greatness, made these people into perennial inspirers. Many of the football greats have inspired us outside the game too. David Beckham has been in the forefront as a fashion model. Sports goods & fitness products has found endorsements from the soccer champions. Cars, Premium Housing, Airlines, Watches & other industries have fielded the football champions as their brand ambassadors. The lifestyle industry and magazine covers has used these champions to promote their products. And most of all, many greats have generously lent their credibility to endorse charity works worldwide. Millions of teens take to soccer as a career because of inspiration from these football giants. In the present era, you probably will not find any civilization on earth that is not exposed to soccer.
It may be justified to say that after faith, football may be the most common element among humankind.
Welcome to World Cup 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil! It’s a game that’s simple to play, easily scalable, can be played in any size, terrain and timeline which may have brought its initial appeal. Its competitiveness and team’s structure being the base strength where tact, speed, stamina, agility and decisive moves are the first skills required. All these have made the start-up to football and then its pursuit, a desirable feature for all. The minimum need of infrastructural facility makes it easy on the beginners.
And right now everybody is going crazy about the World Cup 2014. Even the 76-year-old Radhamma in Madurai is impacted by the FIFA. Her seven-year old grandson Murugendra is no longer attentive to the elders. His mind is not fixed on the tasty dosas and vadas anymore. Now every time that his parents lure Murugendra with the bonda or the laddoo, the young lad sees a miniature football. Then there is the elderly couple Mr. & Mrs. Chaitali Chatterjee from Kolkata, who have been married for a full five decades have attended over ten FIFA Football World Cup games. Despite living on a monthly pension of less than Rs. 10,000, they saved enough rupees to take them to Brazil this year.
Soccer has given a product and content to newspapers, photographers, filmmakers, cover pages and also to story writers. The makers of video games and internet games for sophisticated gadgets are busy inventing new software. All these livelihoods and industries revolve around the football game’s strategy and technique. The Scottish man, who brought the game to Brazil in 1894, Mr. Thomas Donohue would have never imagined the amount of popularity which this game would receive. It is also little wonder then that the President of FIFA, Mr. Sepp Blatter wants to extend his term yet again, much beyond his valid retirement age.
The tact, talent, skill, expertise and applying every bit of heart & soul into the game alone goes into creating the champions of soccer. In a FIFA World Cup, to win, luck has to favor the team. The intriguing game consists of cases of mischief in each game by the players, professional fouls, a melodrama display of pain, an exaggerated fall to win a penalty or even a hand punch on the ball.
Adversaries need not become enemies. This year, Sao Paulo, one of the biggest cities in Brazil is the place to watch as the teams walk onto the field to defeat the opponent. Though off field there is a relation of camaraderie and harmony where the teams connect with each other as they are all part of the world-famous play of football. The game has created fire in the belly where everyone is cheering to win, to referee, to comment, all in the name of football.