June 27, 2012
I will always remember where I was last Sunday. I will always remember the shouting, and the pain, and the moments of joy. I will remember watching my friends celebrate as I hung my head in misery. I will never forget that the score didn’t really matter in the end.
If you don’t know (and there is no reason why you should) Euro 2012 (The football (soccer) European cup) is being played at the moment. It’s like the world cup, only with just European teams.
We have been watching at Carpe Diem! Gelato-Espresso Bar downtown and trust me it gets loud in there. On Sunday England (obviously my team) played Italy (the crazy Italian owner of Carpe Diem’s team) and it was quite a game. Of course England lost (yes, I get to write it like that because I’m English – we live in hope, but not expectation) but although I will remember the result, I will never forget what was important that day.
The important thing was the people, both sets of supporters, the fun, the jibes, the hugs, the laughter, the banter and the mutual respect. The game was end to end football, Ok so a lot of it was at the wrong end, but it stayed at nil-nil (zero, zero) for the full ninety minutes, and then for 30 minutes of extra-time, and was decided by penalty kicks. It was full of drama and everything a good sporting match should be.
I drove home afterwards, with that hurt in my heart that any English football fan is used to (We last won a tournament in 1966) and pulled up at a stop light. There was a banner showing Mickey Shunick, the missing girl that we all think of us as one of us, it put everything in perspective.
Sport matters yes. It matters to the athletes and the supporters. It teaches our children discipline and teamwork and all sorts of things, it unites countries, cities and schools, it is a vital component in our world. Sometimes we get confused and think that the score is the important thing, that what matters is winning or loosing.
I know I sound like a pathetic European, but I’m not a ‘medals for everyone’ thinker, while you are playing the score should matter, wanting to win, and learning to give everything you have is important in sport and life. Losing is an important lesson, that we all need. All I’m saying is when you walk away, win or lose, the things that are important are the people you met, the relationships you built, and the lessons you learned.
Get passionate about things, take risks that mean you could lose, care deeply about results but remember that at the end of the day people are what matter. Hug the people you love, spend time with those you connect with, and make sure you keep your priorities in order.
And remember, there’s always the World Cup in 2014, I think England can win.
This article was first published in The Daily Advertiser on Tuesday 26th June 2012. All the usual rights reserved.
If you know anything about the whereabouts of Mickey please tell the police – thank you. We all need her home.