By my own admission, the phrase “I’ve played football for nearly all of my life” has far less impact when it emerges you cannot yet drive unaccompanied or vote. However, the phrase “I live and breathe football” carries the same meaning regardless of age.
Should you ask my family or anyone I go to school with, they would most likely tell you the same thing; I am completely obsessed with football. My parents will probably slip in a subtle gripe about the time they devote to carting me around to one field or another, or how what this football team achieved in that game dominates my conversational capacity. Yet everyone around me knows and respects my love of this sport.
I am not unfamiliar with the nicknames “kid” or “young’un” and more than one centre back has muttered to their teammate that I am too small to defend properly. I still play U17 football, am a member of a school First XI and own a mallard green tie and a badge-adorned blazer. I’m regularly reminded by my older teammates that high school is a bubble and that yes, I really ought to be terrified of adulthood because “do you know how much water and electricity costs these days?”.
If there is one thing I do understand however, despite my youth, it is football. I do not profess to be an expert or a master of the art, but I understand it. I understand why people fall in love with it because at the tender age of 4, I fell hard. I understand why its spellbinding complexities and chess-like nature enthrall people because for over ten years I have been thoroughly entranced. I have felt the sublimity of a skill performed correctly, and the surge of euphoria that comes from being part of a team and succeeding. It’s addictive.
However, my understandings of this wonderful game bring a different take, coloured by my lack of years and tinted by the outright devotion my abundance of time affords me. As a young person growing up in New Zealand, sport has been a foundational part of my childhood. I grew up around the fields and my short life is inextricably linked with football. I hope to bring that perspective to light in my writing here, because as a 4th form version of myself once confidently told my 7th form captain, “yeah, I’m young-but it’s football”.
Categories: Other Football Topics
A youth grade footballer and lover of the game since the age of 4. Living and playing for club and school in Auckland and loving every second on the pitch (apart from the end of a losing match).