Euro 2012 + The Ukraine + Note To Self

Sunday, June 03, 2012

While I'm not a huge soccer/football fan these days, it does have a special place in my heart in the sense that when I was a younger, smaller, less blubbery version of myself, I did run my little legs ragged across the field chasing that ball much like my part-time dog chases imaginary specters from the vacuum cleaner -- many times w/o success and usually just tiring me out (and in case you're wondering I use 1-800-rent-a-pooch).

But sometimes it wasn't always in vein.

For one shining period of time I did have success, allowed to start in one spot and simply rove the field, somehow being the catalyst to numerous wins, applauded by opposing teams' coaches, and sometimes even carried off the field treated to milkshakes, hamburgers, and kisses by pretty young girls for my on the field performances (and again if you're wondering, yes, I'm probably making that portion up).

It wasn't always milkshakes and kisses though.

One time going for a steal, I accidentally swept an opposing player's leg, who went down extremely hard. As I, the coaches, and the other players went over to the player, all of us in a huddle, one of the opposing team's players looked at me and uttered a racial slur, afterwards, swiftly getting told in no uncertain terms by their coach to immediately leave the field.

It was the first time I had experienced that type of racism in a sport, while at the same time seeing how it was combated simply and effectively in that type of venue.

As I was watching the BBC World news while doing some work, I got caught into a special on Euro 2012 and the blatant racism that goes on - specifically in the Ukraine where it will be held - and while I've read some of the news about racism in football throughout the years -- watching the footage of White Power signs, Nazi salutes, and South Asians getting kicked down by fans barely making it out to safety, and then hearing that POC are being warned about their safety if traveling to watch their teams - it not only made me think about that time when I was younger and wishing that you could control the masses like you could a twelve year-old kid on an opposing team -- but also the simple fact that I don't think I'll ever be traveling to the Ukraine to go to a football match.