Girls who love Football
For the last two weeks, screaming, crying, cussing, belligerent messes of men have surrounded me and I love it!
This is the passion of football, in households, sports bars and my favourite – the rum shop, where families of fans can assemble and identify one another based on the colour of their team shirt.
It’s currently a Tuesday, two days away from the quarterfinals of the World Cup and is serious tabanca. My life has been a thrilling, zealous, predictable timetable of 7 a.m., 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. rendezvous with some of the most skilled, cosmopolitan, and, of course, sexiest men in the world and now, there is nothing.
For two days, 48 hours, C is back to regular programming, and to make this torture more poignant, my side Brazil is scheduled to play Holland for a place in the semis. Obviously by the time you read this their fate would have been decided, and the very thought of a defeat has made me an overnight nail biter. Yes fellas, there are girls out there who love football just as much as you do.
Girls who love football have different memories of how this affair started.
‘Girls who love football have different memories of how this affair started’
Undoubtedly, there are the clichés, the woman who loved the man who loved football. The ‘man’s girl’ who couldn’t refuse the football lime, and secured her spot as the only female in the crew. The ‘daddy’s girl’ who carries the nostalgia of Sundays besides Dad taking in football on Channel 2, and relives it every time “Waka Waka” starts. What about my own introduction you ask?
Admittedly, it’s a mix ‘n’ blend of probably all of the above; honestly, I don’t remember. What I do know, is that as long as I have known myself, this two teams, eleven men a side, 90 minutes, dribbling-spanning-tackling fiasco has my heart and if anyone should ask, I bleed green and yellow for Brazil whenever they play. Did I mention I played football in secondary school?
Passing for an all-girl, Catholic school was great for academics – not so great for my football crush. While I wrote stories about my then love, Brazil’s number 9 Ronaldo being my husband and us being a mega-football family (like, if Posh played football!), I remained benched. I begged my mom for a $99 Brazil shirt from the ’98 World Cup in France and wore it religiously.
While some girls were into Jordon and Kobe, I lusted after the muscular, magical legs of Ronaldo, who, even with his gap-toothed smile and sometimes-horrendous haircuts, made my heart skip a beat for every defender he beat to goal.
They say, ‘what is to is must is’ and finally, at A’ levels, I found myself in not only a co-ed school, but also one with a thriving football team. My first question before stepping into that Form Six classroom was, “Allyuh have ah girls side or what?” When the answer was no, I queried, “But allyuh does let girls play right?” I distinctly remember Coach Floyd’s screw face at the question, but my audacity endured.
‘But allyuh does let girls play right?’
As the only girl at regular practices, I did the same drills, played pick-up games and travelled with the team to all our away games (maybe with the help of a little forgery), but I was a footballer. Just as it is today, InterCol didn’t have co-ed games, so I was still sitting on the sidelines until that fateful day, when Presentation College’s (San Fernando) coach saw me doing passes with some team-mates before their fixture with Pres’ visiting side, and invited me to play for a newly formed girls team at Naparima Girls. It lasted not more than a school term and a six-game career, but my own personal dream of playing football was realised. In case you’re wondering, I played last stop, but if I could do it all over again, definitely midfield.
While some yearn for Beckham and Christiano Ronaldo’s good looks, I give them kudos for their skills and incredible free kick outside the 20-yard box. While the faces of Messi, Kaka and Drogba might become household names due to branding on the side of KFC boxes, for those who love football, they are shining stars year-round for their goal scoring performances at club level. And while there are women who would swig beers and occasionally glance at the TV screen, how many go to a bar, any bar with a TV screen with the game on, solo, because it’s 90 minutes of your life you wouldn’t rather spend anywhere else? I can assure you, not many.
Even if it’s a girl holding a candle for a side, or one with a full-on blaze, fellas, there are girls out there who love football just as much as you do, and, if you’re liming in a bar watching the game, you just might bounce up one.
Side note: Brazil played Friday and lost to Holland 2-1. Although my dreams of four-year bragging rights and the chance of seeing my team lift the World Cup trophy for a 6th time are now shattered, I’m riding on the Spain bandwagon all the way to the finals. Viva Espana!
Image credit: nytimes.com