I know next to nothing about street soccer. I hardly ever felt how it is to be marginalized and socially stigmatized. But I have witnessed how the former becomes a remedy for the latter.
An Indonesian team consisting of people who are either homeless, (former) drug addicts, or HIV/AIDS positive, was invited to participate in the Homeless World Cup 2012 tournament in Mexico. My previous post tells a bit about their initial attempt to raise funding for the trip, which was emotionally quite overwhelming. Eventually, they managed to gather just enough to send the team to Mexico. We saw them off on October 4th, 2012. Then, remarkable things happened…
I am not directly involved with their preparation, etc., so just take my words as a supportive onlooker: this team has become an inspiration for many.
“Why do I have so much faith in them?”
I tweeted one day,
“Because they have the guts to accept their condition and to be better persons”.
Which is true. It’s already hard for them to free themselves from their current circle (poverty, drug addiction, stigmatized illness, along with the social consequences). Their limitation is the one that pushes them forward and proves that their will knows no boundaries. What makes them what they are now is their own might. Each man has to conquer himself and they have gone beyond that. Not just anyone can say such things for himself.
During the tournament, their reputation was built not only of their sporting skills, but also of their charming personality. [Read this article at Detik Sport, for one, then click all the links with the same topics at the bottom of the article for more stories] Although they are entitled to be depressed, they choose not to. Instead, they lift up the spirits of others, and be positive about the game, winning or losing. They got a champion’s attitude.
What’s unexpected was that they made it into the semi-final! They’ve made it to the fourth place, bringing along with them hopes and prides of everyone who has followed their journey. Thanks to the team, all crew, and everyone who supports them, for being unsung heroes for all of us. Tomorrow they’ll arrive in Indonesia, back to their families, friends, communities, ready to inspire more. Welcome home, brothers, we’re proud of you. Quoting Ridwan Kamil (the team’s supervisor) and Ginan Koesmayadi (the team’s predecessor),
“You’re all greater than trophies;
more honorable than any title!”
R E S P E C T !
Homeless World Cup: http://www.homelessworldcup.org/
League of Change: http://www.leagueofchange.org/
Rumah Cemara: http://www.rumahcemara.org/