The Spirit of Football in an Image and a Poem


This picture and the following poem were sent to me separately by Daily Breeze Sports Editor Todd Bailey and a Facebook friend respectively.

Both seem to sum up the spirit of the game as we await the beginning Thursday night of a new MLS season.

The image was summed up in the press release:

Sarah Ahmad, a photographer from Rawalpindi in Pakistan, is the winner of the Campaign Award. Introduced this year, as part of the Sony World Photography Awards, the competition created a brief for amateur photographers to answer and it sought out one image which unites a global obsession with football and a passion for photography.

The winning image of a woman preparing a meal, with one foot placed on a football, is simply titled: ‘The Love of the Game: a cook, cleaner, mother….and an attacking midfielder.’

Delly Carr, one of the world’s leading sports photographers, and chair of the judging panel commented: “This photograph is so simple, yet it speaks volumes about the sport. The image exemplifies the fact that football is indeed the world game, a sport built on passion and fanaticism. It also attempts to express that passion makes no discrimination against gender, age, nationality, or social class.”

More information on the Sony World Photography Awards is here.

In the same vein is the following poem I’d never seen before that was apparently translated from the Spanish.

If anyone knows more about it, please leave a comment. I’m unsure whether Wolff or Saavedra is the author, nevertheless it sums up the beautiful game:

How will you know what Love is
if you’ve never been in love with a club?

How will you know what pain is
if a central defender has never broken your fibia and tibula?
or if you’ve never been standing on a wall and the ball hit you exactly there…

How will you know what pleasure is
if you’ve never done a victory lap as a visitor?

How will you know what sweetness is
if you’ve never caressed her on the side, approaching her with the outside of the boot to leave her cradling under the net?

Listen… how will you know what solidarity is
if you’ve never stood up for a friend who was hit from behind?

How will you know what poetry is
if you’ve never dared to dribble?

How will you know what humiliation is
if you’ve never been nut-megged?

How will you know what friendship is
if you’ve never returned a 1-2?

How will you know what panic is
if you’ve never been surprised out of position in a counterattack?

How will you know what dying a little is
if you’ve never gone looking for the ball at the back of the net?

How will you know what solitude is
if you’ve never stood between the three posts
12 steps away from one that wanted to beat you
and end your dreams?

How will you know what mud is
if you’ve never launched yourself at nobody’s feet
to send a ball over the touchline?

How will you know what greed is
if you’ve never taken a touch too many
when you should have given it to the ‘9’ who was all alone?

How will you know what art is
if you’ve never invented a ‘rabona’?

How will you know what music is
if you’ve never sang from the stands?

How will you know what injustice is
if you’ve never been sent off by a partial referee?

How will you know what insomnia is
if you’ve never been relegated?

How will you know what hate is
if you’ve never scored an own goal?

How will you know what crying is
if you’ve never lost a final as the clock died on a questionable penalty?

How will you know my dear friend
How will you know what life is
if you have never ever

played football.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at Cheers!