Football is more than a sport. It is pure passion.
We fell in love with football thanks to our dad, brothers or friends who first introduced us. From the time we learned to walk, the game surrounded us. From that point on we ate, slept and breathed football. If we were not playing, or watching others play, we were watching games on TV. It is simply ingrained in our souls.
As young lads, the worst form of punishment was being told we couldn’t watch the game. It was particularly upsetting if it was an important Champions League or national team game. Perhaps you can relate to those nights when you didn’t finish your homework or didn’t clean up properly, and instead were told to go to bed. “No game tonight.”
Creeping out of the bedroom into the hallway and sneaking down the stairs, afraid the creaking floorboards would give us away. All this just to catch a glimpse of the game through a crack in the closed parlor doors. With an ear to the living room door hearing the announcer's famous voice, “Ladies and gentlemen… Good evening,” broke our hearts. It still hurts to think about it!
For most footballers, the game itself has been internalized. It became part of our identity- the very fabric of our being. Football drove what we did in our spare time morning, noon and night. The smell of freshly cut grass at an early morning practice is imprinted in our memory. There is something addictive about how playing football makes you feel. You can’t control who else shows up to the starting line, but you can control your own preparation, training and contribution to the team.
The camaraderie, healthy sense of competition and being part of a team became more and more meaningful over time. It was about being with your friends, feeling like you’re part of that community and playing an important role. It was the chance to emulate your heroes- all the players you admired on TV.
When we began to play, we realized why it is the world’s sport. And as our love for the game grew, so did our exposure to other teams from other areas. This led us to cross paths with many different people from various cultures and teams, helping us develop a better understanding of the world around us.
It is incredible how people around the world live for football as if it were a religion. It is the only sport able to paralyze entire cities and countries over a single game.
“I eat football, I sleep football. I breathe football. I’m not mad, I’m just passionate.” - Thierry Henry
Athletes often have a passion for what they do and are intensely dedicated to their commitments. It is this same passion, determination and intrinsic motivation that we utilize now to overcome life’s obstacles, outwork the competition and focus on our goals with a sense of purpose. It was football that taught us how to operate with efficiency, tenacity and winning attitudes.
Football also taught us resiliency. It made us realize it’s not always about being the best, but more about the journey, being involved and trying our best. We are constantly striving for more, seeking out new challenges and opportunities for growth and adventure.
We realized long ago that we share this passion with millions of others… a passion for the game and all it represents. Even though “our” team will always matter, it is the love of the game that has brought us such meaningful friendships for life, and this ever-growing family to which we belong.
Football may be our job, or even our livelihood. But it is simply our life’s passion and the essence of who we are. Come be part of our family.
Be a TENLEGEND.