This post is inspired from reading “a letter to my younger self” by the Brazilian Soccer Genius Ronaldinho.
If you’re looking to get your child involved in physical activity and a sport for life (don’t assume elementary school is providing that) there’s something you should know about soccer.
The greatest players on the planet played in bare feet, ratty sneakers, a tatty ball, but they did play often, and they did play, and this is important, for fun.
Ronaldinho talks about this.
Organized soccer in Canada, from the very lowest levels all the way to the national team, is structured almost to the point where creativity is coached out, in favor of organization.
This is a legitimate way to win, to succeed even, but it’s not all that entertaining.
Kids are told it’s ok to make mistakes one day, but to remember they are constantly on trial the next.
This makes for very predictable play for the fans, whether these fans be at the park on a Saturday, or watching the Ottawa Fury, or Team Canada. I can watch players in North America and know exactly what they are going to do next 90% of the time. So can their opponents. The reason Ronaldinho was so feared by defenders was because they had no idea what he was going to do with the ball.
Coaches and clubs are aware of all this and are making great strides to change this, but aren’t there yet.
Admittedly there isn’t a Ronaldinho on every street corner, but how many kids with touch, instinct, personality, have it coached out of them in favor of structure and ‘discipline?’
The same applies to us as we grow into adults, it applies to any creative endeavor, including photography.
How many of us have creativity coached out of us by our educational institutions, our culture, our need to win, and our corporations?
Sir Ken Robinson has something to say about this: