11 February 2019

She A Baller

Over Sunday lunch she opened the conversation with a surprising declaration.

“The German Bundesliga is my favorite league name to say.”

This was not the most likely thing one might expect to hear from the mouth of a 14-year old girl, but in her case not totally inexplicable. She likes football, what America calls soccer, and even typically calls it football in conversation. Yet, the extents to which she delved into knowledge of the game were not realized until she voiced that comment about the Bundesliga.

I raised my eyebrows. “Bundesliga? Really?”

She told me it was because she really likes the sound of it, especially as compared to the names of other major national football leagues. Spain’s “La Liga” comes in second. Premier League (England) is just meh. Major League Soccer? Fuggedaboutit. And Ligue 1 from France is a non-starter (boooring.) I didn’t get a chance to ask her about Futebol Brasileiro, so her thoughts on Brazil’s top league will have to wait.

Her take on football in general did not have to wait. She enjoys playing it and watching it. With the Women’s World Cup taking place in the coming summer, interest is particularly high. She has her favorite players. She wears the kit. What is most fascinating to me about her curiosity, interest, and delight in the beautiful game (she has heard me say “jogo bonito” more than once) is that it is almost entirely self-generated. As much as I love the game I have never felt compelled to push football on her. She started playing at an early age and has maintained connection ever since, an occurrence I find gratifying and grounding.

Case in point was our last summer vacation. We had a week down by the ocean, in the midst of the 2018 World Cup. Sun, sand, and ocean? You bet. But she made a point of wanting to watch the two-a-day matches leading up to the knockout rounds. Me, well, I couldn’t argue with that. Quality time with my daughter, cheering or groaning depending on the run of play, and pouncing on the opportunity to bellow “GOOOOOOAL!” Beautiful game? You bet. But most importantly, a beautiful slice of life.

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"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...