There was a popular tv ad in the 90’s called: “Come fútbol, sueña fútbol” (eat soccer, dream soccer), I always joked that the ad was inspired in my dad because his life revolved around a soccer ball.
One of my early memories was watching dad’s matches in the stadium and making cool goals, in fact, most of my infant pictures were taken in the premises of a stadium. I remember my childhood closet had more soccer jerseys than dresses, and my toys bin consisted pretty much of soccer balls of all sizes and colors. Dad’s soccer passion brought opportunities for him to travel around the world and his travels exposed me to fascinating cultures and languages. Because of my dad, soccer became in an important part of my life, too.
Soccer is BIG in Ecuador and other parts of the world. When the national team plays an important and crucial game like the World Cup, all the country stops and the day is declared a holiday. You don’t see a soul in the streets… except for stray dogs and two or three “traitors”! 😉 When the national team wins, there are huge celebrations and parties all over the country where the most value player of the match will suddenly become something close to a national hero!! At other hand, if the team loses, sadness fills the Ecuadorian air and everyone tries to avoid to talk about the dumb game again. I have fondest memories of those soccer days.
Yesterday, I was watching my kids playing in the front yard when I noticed my toddler kicking and running behind a smiley-face-yellow ball, it warned my heart. I know there is nothing spectacular or promising about a toddler kicking a ball, but I had this urge to call my dad and share what his nieto did. My dad’s laugh and enthusiasm brought me to tears, I realized once again how much soccer balls are close to my heart.