My son Alexandre loves to play soccer. He is 10 years old today and he plays as a goal keeper. But I am not tall (1,76m – please convert to feet) neither is his mother so his chances of getting tall are not big. As he really loves soccer and have been training for sometime, whoever sees him playing agrees he is a great goalkeeper. But inevitably, fathers (always the fathers, never the mothers) from the opponent teams playing against him, look at him and tell their kids: “make sure you shoot to the goal and the ball will go….that goalkeeper will not be able to defend”. Hearing such a thing is not something I like (my wife Aline gets really angry) but I try not to bother. Specially because I know they do not know Alexandre as a goalkeeper yet. So here is some recent story from the weekend of November 20th (a holiday in Brazil) to Nov23r d.
Day 1 – November 20th – (Tijuca – Alexandre´s team – vs King of the Ball – Ladeira dos Tabajaras):
The King of the ball is the most commented team in the competition lately as it has some older boys a bit smarter (“rogues”) and very good at playing soccer. The father of one of those guys was quite funny (a giant black guy). In all the matches, he is outside screaming terrible words to his son and threatening with punishment and beating him if he did not play right. The game begins and the King of Ball puts a lot of pressure. Foul in their favor. One of the parents yells: “Shoot at the goal! He will not defend as he is small…shoot and celebrate!”. I’m pissed off but don´t say a thing. I just hope the referee whistles and ball goes out. The kid shoots pretty well, the ball goes in the goal and quite high, and I said “crap!”. But there was this small goalkeeper at the other side wanting to be giant and “flew “with all his heart! Beautiful flying save! Awesome! I got closer to the father who yelled to his son and that does not know that I am the goalkeeper father, and tell him, “Oh, the goalkeeper defended! Did you see that flying save ?! What the hell was that!”. And I hear back, “Well …. the goalie is good I’ll take him to my team!”. No you wont. And the game goes on, Tijuca scores 1 x 0 and the team holds the score until the end, with some other good defenses from the small man with wings.
Day 2 – November 21st – ( Indoor soccer Game (Ponto Futuro – Alexandre´s indoor soccer team – vs Flamengo). Both teams are equal in points in the Cup of Aces but the draw benefits Flamengo (who won at heads or tails). The first game between the two teams was 4-4. The game starts well, here and there. Flamengo suddenly begins to attack more because it is losing (1 – 0 for Ponto Futuro). And here comes one shot, almost untenable in the right corner, at the angle, and the Flamengo parents start celebrating (Never celebrate too soon)! But the small goalkeeper wanting to be giant again, arced backwards to tip the ball over (this defense was impressive). At that time I started thinking that the stock of good saves were eventually over, due to the good performance at the previous day, but got surprised with at least four other excellent defenses during that game. At the end of the game, which ended 3 – 0 for Ponto Futuro, we heard some children from Flamengo comparing Alexandre with Neuer, who is his biggest idol . “We could have won if it wasn´t for that goalie! Their goalkeeper looked like he was Neuer “, they said. To endup the game even better, the organizers came to take his picture for the “man of the match” award.
Day 3 – November 22nd – (Tijuca vs JH). JH is the team that lost to Tijuca in the first game (2 months before) so they came angry. The game starts well, here and there, and at that day, there were 2 goalkeepers for Tijuca so my small giant would only play at the first half. In this period, the ball almost did not hit our goal but in a dangerous attack from JH, there comes the rebellious and stubborn goalie, stopping JH. The ball hits his stomach, and he stays there lying on the ground for about two minutes. Then he stands up and people applaud (the shot was strong). First half is over, 0-0. Tijuca lost the game in the second half but we could not blame the other goalkeeper.
3 games, 3 days in a row, three excellent performances, an extremelly humble behavior in all the games, very focused, a lot of respect for teams he represents and also the opponents. Not long ago, in another contest , there was a game where he thought he failed, and he did not have the same behavior of those 3 days, and I told him that soccer could not ever get him to behave that way. But this weekend in november was a great weekend of victories and something tells me that in other defeats, surely many still to come, he will prove he is becoming a great little man. And I hope I can always be around to see my little giant flying, with humility and with eyes shining! People with the bright in the eyes change the world and makes it a lot more worthwhile! Alexandre: Fly, jump, shine, succeed, make mistakes, fail! …. always with such intensity that makes me admire you so much. The lessons of those games you will carry for life, and there will be always someone thinking that you are not able to do something difficult. And I, as a good silly daddy, will always be hoping that they are wrong.