lundi, décembre 18, 2006

Life is Football

A little pause does no harm. Friday night's news came as a shock to all Juve fans (and non). Two young men ready to leap into the crazy world of professional football had their lives prematurely cut short. The senslessness of their cold deaths only adds to the mourning and sadness that surrounds the event. One does not blame their parents for asking questions and trying to find someone to blame. The editor of La Gazzetta rightly pointed out that this tragedy is closer to that of the boys playing football in the street, risking their limbs recovering stray balls from the traffic than to the world of money, shams and fixed matches. Too true.

I remember playing football with the bullies and arabs of Paceville in the patch of cement opposite Wembley's. In my time there was no two metre high fence and whenever the ball went into the busy St. George's road we would sprint after it nonchalantly zig zagging among moving cars driven by furious drivers. In Pembroke the odd piece of rust on the floor carried the additional risk of tetanus (hence the sprint to the clinic on a Sunday for the obligatory injection). I can name hundreds of other places that each carried the risk of their own.

We learnt to avoid these risks. We learnt to take preventive action. But nothing could overcome our passion for the game. Like life, football carries many risks... some of these are not immediately obvious to the onlooker... deaths on and off the pitch are not rare but it is important for the game to go on. Never shall we forget though. Alessio and Riccardo will be added to the hundreds of other names who died while playing or enjoying the game...

And it's soon Christmas. Which means errands galore. Which means that I am on holiday from today. Bills to be paid, goods and gifts to be bought and final farewells to be made to most of the Maltese community going back home. I am staying here... Christmas this year will be spent in Metz... then it's off to the Big Apple for a New Year in the New City.

More to come...

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