By Michael Shanks
In local neighborhoods of Brazil and other countries, the kids that are the most skilled often are given nicknames and are highly respected. Soccer skill implies having practiced for hours upon hours (work hard). This also implies dedication. This also earns respect and praise, which then makes the kid want to get even better and more skillful.
In my experience, people have always respected skilled soccer players, often times more than players who have success simply because of their size or speed (tall and fast). This respect is gained because soccer players train not only their muscles, but their minds to function in a certain way that allows precise, calculated movements of the body while remaining fluid in a state of improvisation.
I take great pride in the awards and “naming-s” I have garnered through my successes in soccer. I am respected by the soccer coaches, but also my peers on the team and even my friends at school.
Why are athletes respected so highly? People will say because they admire the commitment and physical achievement of the athletes. However, the underlying principle, though most may not realize it, is seeing the athletes as artists (art form).
There exists a huge community of soccer players who post their dribbling and juggling abilities online – at say YouTube. Nike Soccer has jumped on this bandwagon and created an excellent place where people can post their videos and evaluate their soccer skills against others.
Take a look as the incredible skills from Cristiano Ronaldo.
That’s what makes soccer such an amazing and fun game to play and watch. The joy that a player gets when he pulls off a trick or scores after a dribbling run and the joy that the fans get in seeing it. But that skill and talent didn’t just appear out of thin air, the player had to work hard on his own to develop that skill on the soccer ball.
Soccer has always been a game that requires a lot of dedication. To master the soccer ball. One can have great speed or physical ability, but you also have to put the time in mastering the soccer ball before you can be great. Yes, soccer is not just a sport but art. If you put in the time with the soccer ball on your own you can become an artist on the soccer field.
But what’s more, you can use your skills to create art with your teammates on the field. That’s where the joy comes from. Connecting with your teammates on the soccer field to string a series of passes together that results in a goal.
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