Futbol is the talk of the town this week which is so refreshing. All of a sudden the budget, the economic downturn and the ravages of winter have been forgotten because we’re all be hypnotized by the world’s best footballers in Brazil.
We’ve panicked for the socceroos. I was one of those who feared we’d go down 10-nil to Chile after those two early goals. That wasn’t to be as the Australians rallied and fought their way back into the game.
While we sit around cheer the likes of Tim Cahill and Tommy Oar, I think most of us have forgotten the real heroes of the round ball game. You’ll find plenty of those heroes on suburban grounds around Canberra each and every Saturday morning. I’m talking about the junior coaches, the team managers and even the Mums and Dads who just make sure that their kids get to the soccer every morning even when the mercury is hovering around the zero.
I played junior soccer in country NSW. You would think that with a name like Fernandez that I’d be gifted at the world game. You’d be wrong. I was an awkward ungainly 10 year old when I turned up to play my first season under coach Monty. Monty did what all junior soccer coaches are supposed to do. Sure he taught me the rules and the basics of the game, but he did so much more. He helped me to enjoy the game and he made be believe that I could do things, that without him I would never have believed possible.
I was never going to represent Australia at soccer, but to Monty and most of the junior coaches around this place that doesn’t matter.
In this sleep deprived month as we watch the World Cup finals play out in Brazil, please give some thought to the grassroots heroes of the game from here in our town.