Nine Life Lessons I Learn As a Football Addict

When a ball is played in a football field by world-class players; when it comes to prestige, win-or-lose philosophy; when it comes to emotional involvement between fans and players or fans with certain clubs or players with specific clubs… about 17 years on, and below are just a few lessons that I have recently drawn out as a huge football lover:

Dream

It starts with one name: Turin. I have always wanted to visit the city that lies in the north of Italy. Juventus, my most favorite club ever, has called me to go there since I was a junior high school student. At some points, I still laugh at the thought of saving money just to go there. But when I really learn about it, no dreams are useless. Turin is only a trigger. A motivation. Studying, working and praying hard to be at the city one day is what it teaches me.

When the time is right a dream will come true. I proved that last year when I met Alessandro Del Piero, the best footballer ever in my heart, in Sydney, Australia. I have been working so hard for about six years. I have saved part of monthly wage without initially knowing how this would end up. When I learned that he was going to be two years in Sydney, I firmly decided to meet him even if that meant I must have spent almost half of my entire saving. I would do it all by myself for the sake of fulfilling my dream as well as giving an early gift for my birthday.

Each time I remember on how I have spent the huge money, how I have patiently managed to go through all visa-passport related stuffs, and most important of all, how I have conquered the anxiety and afraidness, I couldn’t help being proud of myself. So, how the dream has finally guided me! Meeting Alessandro is a goal. Making it all happen with my own efforts is what it’s all about. The end is important but the journey is way more precious. I have become that brave, that amazing, that awesome thanks to the dream of meeting Alessandro. How much have I learned that dreams are the ways of Alloh swt to lead me being a much stronger and grateful I am today.

‘Insha Alloh’ going to Turin is just a matter of time. One day, I will be there. With the consents of Alloh swt, I will go through a hard, long, tiring yet fun process that will take me there just what I went through with Sydney and Alessandro. And it’s going to be so much worth it. Can’t wait to start the journey.

Love

Football players are the people who teach me of loving what they do and stick to that. They don’t regard their likeness as trivial thing. They remain committed to play, follow their heart, inner voice, sacrifice their education and family to pursue their dream of being the best ones.

It is from their seriousness over what people may consider as small one that amazes me. It’s their persistence, their hard training that somehow teaches me about the power of passion.

Faithfulness

I have been a huge fan of Juventus or call me as a Juventini for about 17 years. I have adored Alessandro for more than 13 years. Standing by their side through good and bad times; keeping a strong support during the ups and downs; being sad and joyful when they win or lose; sacrificing all I can for the ones that I love the most all through these years, are so wonderful. How much I can learn about this faithfulness. How much I have grown up over all these times thanks to their models. How much I can apply this attitude to my real own life. And how wonderful this small kind of act can remind me that being faithful, either in the football world or real life, is getting so rare nowadays.

Hardworking

It’s definitely not an easy task to be a great let alone a legendary footballer. With so many talented players going in and going out, love and passion are not enough. Hardworking, raising performance bar, beating self-enemies are keys to always be in the world’s most popular sport. How footballers can play in good shape twice per week; how they can remain in good ball possession even after 90 minutes; how they can remain cool-headed in a world cup finals can only be attained through super hardworking, and may be, just my opinion, intensive motivation sharing sessions. In football or in real life, hardworking is the key of the success. And ever since I have been a huge Juventini, I have applied this principle into my daily life. Sometimes, whenever I get lazy I fancy their faces playing on the field. This works a lot though!

Beauty

I have fallen in love with football since the first time I watched Juventus playing on the field. Can’t remember whose side it was against. All I can recall is that I was completely mesmerized by the teams’ accurate passings. The more I watch the more I get hypnotized. I am a big fan of free kicks. I always look forward to watch Andrea Pirlo shows his magic in each of the free kick that he takes. He’s the prominent player who shows me that football is all about beauty though it is Alessandro who firstly introduces me to that value in his book ‘Playing On.’

And I really love salto-driven goals with the salto goal from very far distance by Zlatan Ibrahimovic when his nation, Sweden takes England is the one I remember the most. It’s one of the best goals ever. The most difficult one a footballer can make. For me, watching football games is like watching art performances. The way each footballer creates touches, passings, free kicks, or penalty kicks, especially Panenka kicks, are all artistic.

Intelligence

Again, it’s Andrea Pirlo who amazes me at this point. His passing accuracy, his brilliance in attack mapping shows me that in order to be a great footballer you need brain as much as you need physical strength. And at this point, too, I salute to all playmakers, such as Zinedine Zidane, though I think Pirlo is the best of all (subjectivity may apply).

You can’t never ever forget coaches. Yes, coaches are the core for this point and I can’t say much because I still learn how to understand each attack or defense system; what it means as, for example, defending is the best attack; total football; and other systems. Best coaches are not only smart in translating his tactic into positive outcome but also the ones who can make their players give their best in each of the game.

All I can say here is that my most favorite coach ever is Marcello Lippi, Juve’s best second coach and the last coach that leads Italy winning its 2006 World Cup. He is so damn outstanding; he is not only smart but also is a great motivator for being able to turn the ‘calciopoli’-plagued national team into a world champion at that time. What a truly winner you are, Mister Lippi!

Teamwork

Eleven players with different characteristics, various abilities and mixed experiences all come together as one team. They set aside their egos, their willingness to be the only best within one team for the sake of the victory. How they can translate coaches’ strategies into goals then eventually win the games are mind-blowing. This can be way more incredible if it is a group of ordinary, cheap players who conquer star-studded team. In this instance, I salute to Diego Simeone who lifts the La Liga trophy for the 2013/2014 season with his team Atletico Madrid, beating super expensive teams, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Diego is one of the best coaches in the current football world. I adore him but still, he is well below Lippi.

Friendship

I always feel touched whenever I watch footballers celebrating goals and victories. I learn to look at that attitude as human beings euphoria. The pictures do not only tell their satisfaction of finally winning the games after so many hard trials, say, within 90 minutes or even until penalty kicks. But also, their way of celebration, they closeness through huggings always touch my heart. Eleven players from different nations probably speaking various languages can come into one friendship under one team for one triumph. How beautiful is that!

My most sentimental yet incredible friendship is between the trio of Gianluigi Buffon-Alessandro Del Piero-Andrea Pirlo. They are the 2006 world champions. They play for the same team, Juventus, before Ale leaves the club in 2012. They remain as awesome active players as ever despite their old age. Looking at their pictures when Juve takes on Australian All Stars last August in Sydney, Australia, I am so moved. They don’t only set good examples as footballers but also as friends.

If you are against certain players or coaches and you really hate them you should really think about it. Or reconsider your views. I dislike Zinedine Zidane and David Trezequet but they Ale’s best fellows. I hate Sir Alex Ferguson, former coach of Manchester United, but he is a great fan of Mister Lippi. Conclusion: I still dislike Zidane, Trezequet and Fergie but in lower dossis of hatred. The point is friendship among footballers or coaches, especially when they meet outside the field, is always touchy for they show that they are the same with us when it comes to friendship.

Being my own kind of athlete

Being a sport lover since 1992, a die-hard Juventini since 1997 and a Delperista for 13 years onwards, here’s how I can be my own athlete, my own champion. And I have RECENTLY concluded about this.

No, I don’t have to train several hours per day, racing 100 km/per day to be my own version of winner. All I have to do is trying to get up early during weekends, jogging and doing exercises two or three hours per week. Thanks to sports, I realize that I have to love my body. And I can do this by doing exercises, eating and sleeping well. Jogging while circling Gelora Bung Karno main stadium per week while imagining the faces of the mentioned players, especially Alessandro, has made me a champion.

Being a champion at heart is as important as well. Putting high respect to all people, even to the ones I dislike is the highest lesson learned from my unlikeness to Zidane, Fergie or Mourinho. Another value of life is looking at the inside not from the outside whenever I fail. Just like whenever Juve loses the games, never ever blame external factors, even if they may have their say on the defeat.

The last and the best point that I would like to write here is keep on improving myself. I specifically learn about this from Alessandro who keeps on playing even if he turns 40 years old today. He teaches me to always beatnegative destructive thoughts, keep on raising my life bar and there’s no age limits to do what I love.

How abundant! And this post is way much longer that I initially expected! Thank you Alloh swt for making me loving football for I don’t know how to live without it now. Thank you football. I owe you a lot!

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