I grew up in Argentina, Buenos Aires, Vicente Lopez. In the province, the suburbs. So many funny stories of growing up playing soccer in the streets. I will leave them for some other posts. Today I wanted to write something about my dad, and honor all of you soccer fathers out there.
As most Argentines, my family is made of immigrants. On my dad's side they arrived from Russia, on my mom's side from Spain.
My paternal grandfather became a tailor. Legend says that he made the suits for the Racing Club players. This was back in the day, when soccer players wore suits as their everyday clothes.
That is how my father became a fan of Racing Club, he even played for the club.
So, when I was born, I had no other choice than to love soccer, and to be a Racing fan. Throughout the years, I went to so many home and away games, shed tears, hugged random people during goal celebrations, and endured the painful jokes from my cruel school friends when we lost a game.
But this memory is about a cold night, Racing playing against a team called Atlanta. I was around 12 years old.
Even though I loved watching the games, I think I always enjoyed the "extras" more.
Getting ready, picking up a jersey to wear, my dad driving to the stadium, listen to the radio with the pre-match commentators, seeing the caravan of cars.
So this was one of those simple moments, of true connection, pure bliss, fullness. It was a close game, 0-0, one of those nights that you think "Why did I come?".
Nothing was really happening, but late in the game... Racing scored!
And that's what I remember so warmly, I can close my eyes and feel it again... me and my dad hugging, jumping, celebrating together, with our mouths full of GOOOOOOOOOOLLLLL.
My dad died many years ago, and I had many moments like that one, suffering and celebrating together at the soccer field. And it is because of him that I carry this passion for soccer, kids and education. Such moments make me realize how important is to fully live the present. That is all about the little things.
So on this father's day, I want to say that I am so grateful to all of the parents that trust/ed me with their little ones, allowing me to be part of their kid's life, either as a coach, or a teacher. As a father now, I realize how important and powerful it is to allow someone else to enter our child's life. So thanks for letting me in. That is exactly why I am an educator, to be a positive influence in the lives of kids.
So.... to all of you dads out there....happy father's day, and let's keep rocking and rolling!
A vos papi, feliz día, te extraño, siempre.
And to you Bella, my lovely little girl, I love you lots, and I am sorry I made you a Racing Club fan.
You can blame your grandpa!