We each have a moment where we discovered football was more than a game.
It happens in a dash. One day you have no clue of its existence, the next it’s all you’re searching for.
For some these discoveries happened alone. Under patches of summer shade trying to get more than three juggles in a row. Or at the rec center handball courts, pissing off actual handball players by pounding the ball against the concrete fortress with your weaker foot. Fueled by the excitement of progress, you carried on till’ dark.
For others it was scoring a lucky goal in a U9 game, maybe a toe poke off the keepers backside. The sensation in your belly. The puzzled parental cheers. You signed up because every 8 year old does. But by season’s end your shin scuffed goal lifted you into a tractor beam, pulling you into soccer’s light.
FIFA 99 brought football to your thumbs. Mark Lawrenson raising his voice in pandemonium after a clever pass by Seedorf. An incredible goal from Baggio, or a tricep tearing save from Seaman. Your arms pimpled with chills. You discovered a new universe complete with iconic architecture:
Highbury. San Siro. The Camp Nou.
With pre-match anthems and crowd flairs, it’s as close to the elite you’ll ever become.
Maybe it was at a friend’s house. Afternoon rain pelting the shingles. The cold war satellite in the backyard beaming in a matches from ancient cobblestoned lands. You’re weren’t even sure what a UEFA Cup was. And where is Gal-a-tas-aray? But the pace. The technique. You surrendered.
The number 10 has persuaded many an unbeliever. A player that perked your senses when the ball swaddled at their feet. You leaned forward in your chair, eyes transfixed on a pixelated genius. Fantasy fogged your mind’s window because with these players anything was possible.
Names and countries embedded in your mind. Forever.
We carry these moments of discovery with us, trapped in our memories. Let’s go capture more.