Long before I entered formal education, at the tender age of 6, I had already enrolled myself in Football’s School of Life ( or school FOR life, rather..). Armed with only a tiny Ladybird book guide and scorebook given to me by my father and immersing myself in my very first World Cup in 1982, these were some of the things I had learnt from this school called football. I learned about…
…Geography. with so many countries from all over the world participating and nice maps found inside my Ladybird book, I learnt about countries like Algeria and Egypt were from Africa, where New Zealand was, capitals of such countries, countries with unique names like Hungary…and even more unique players like Lazlo Kiss…till today, much of my geographical knowledge stems from my football knowledge.
…History. I learnt about the World Cup having been called the Jules Rimet trophy in the past, how it was stolen and then retrieved by a dog named Pico. I learnt that the first edition started in 1930 and was made aware there a was this major thing called the World War II that halted 2 editions in the 40s.
…Fashion. I saw through pictures how the shorts of football players evolved over the years from very long to very (obscenely) short, and then slightly long again. Even football jerseys looked like windbreakers in the past…which evolved to skin tight stuff of today.
…Math. The World Cup taught me how to count in multiples of four, which became a good tool, since I could re-use this knowledge with the Olympics too. It also taught me how to calculate points in the soccer table. Good knowledge to have.
…Community. I never really understood it back then but now as I read about how Malaysians donated and paid to see some matches to be telecast LIVE in 82, it taught me how strong a community is when driven by a united goal.
…Health. watching Maradona being sent off was a real heart breaker…as was watching the thrilling Italy-Brazil match which warned me early on this game is definitely not for the faint-hearted.
…LOVE. In 1982, even before the World Cup began, I had already fallen in love with Argentina. It was something I couldn’t really explain or reason, but there was this attraction that was so compelling and mesmerizing. At least, that would be my definition love at that age. Yes, Argentina came years before Man United and will always be my footballing love no. 1
In years to come, football will come to teach me more things like the dark arts of diving and simulation, time management, how mexicans love waving, and other things.
Are you ready for the World Cup this year? How has football touched or shaped your life?
the tiny book with a big influence on my life. рџЂ