November 18th, 2002

emu

Disabled football

I taped a programme last friday, just saw the show. Big part was a documentary about a soccer youth team. Not just a team. To be a member you have to be disabled. Some of them are spastic, some have down syndrome, all sorts of handicaps are represented. Every wednesday they play amongst themselves. Once in a while they play a friendly. It was great to see the enjoyment of those kids. Some of them had difficulties standing up, let alone play soccer, but every time they fell down, another one helped them up again. The disabled kids helped the down-syndrome kids by telling them which way to kick the ball.

Highlight was a friendly match they played against Ajax under 7. They actually played against one of the best teams in the world! Before the match their coach, father of one the children, explained some things about his team to the future stars of the famous Ajax academy. During the match the children were having the time of their lives. One boy, whose heart operation went wrong at age two, will never walk properly anymore. But the sheer joy on his face when he scored a goal and ran towards the parents who were cheering them on is worth an award. By the end one of the kids hugged the coach, who then soon had to pass the ball again (he was playing with them). It was a great insight in how football can help people to get along. My eyes were wet by the time it was over.
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