What our Children Can Learn from Football Stars

I’ve always known I wasn’t cut out to play football. But now that the World Cup is coming to an end, I have also found out that I’m not made to watch football either.  I take it too emotionally apparently. A game score can virtually affect my day, and even if the team I cheered for wins, my feelings get all mixed up when the cameras show the shattered dreams of those who have lost. It’s just too nerve-racking.

But it’s also quite mesmerizing watching the very superstars pushing their limits, no matter how many trophies on their account. Their perseverance is as inspiring as their talent. They know that the physical fitness can help them to win a game,  but it is the mental stamina that can help them to win a tournament. Only those who are able to find a new strength in losing and don’t get carried away by winning can make history. 

Now, how does it all translate to parenting? Simple. Whether my boys will be football players or not, I hope they will know that talent is not all that leads to success. What also matters is focus, hard work and humbleness. And a pinch of good luck of course, if you want a complete recipe.



Great People I admire of whom I want my children to know: Iker Casillas

Obviously, I’d love to be a hero in my children’s eyes. Even better, a super-hero. I’d like them to see me as an embodiment of virtues.  But I know that sooner or later they will see me through. Next to my strengths, they will discover my weaknesses and they will have nothing else left but love their mom with all her flaws. But they will still look for their heroes elsewhere and I will support that. I want my children to learn from other people, to admire the great minds and be inspired by success.  And if they happen to need any guidance in their hero hunt, I will have a little list of great personas ready for them. From my accepting grandmother to modest Jamie Oliver,  I wish my kids could find their talents, strengths and humbleness inspirational.

Considering the heat of the World Cup, it is only natural to start the list off with a footballer, whose charisma brought me under his spell, even though I’m a very casual football enthusiast. I’m talking of course about Iker Casillas. Regardless of what happened in Brazil a few weeks ago, I can’t stop admiring living football legend.

The first time I heard of Iker Casillas was during the 2008 Euro Cup. He caught my eye as he reminded me of my brother. The more I was watching him, though, the less I was thinking about his seemingly familiar features and the more I was getting intrigued by his outstanding qualities. I couldn’t believe that with all the attention he’s been getting and a long list of honors and achievements, he has somehow managed to remain genuine, hardworking and so utterly humble. There seems to be nothing arrogant about him. He intimidates, but only with his massive talent. He strikes, but with focus and composure. Over the years, this outstanding goal keeper has so consistently proven his greatness that even the unfortunate tournament in Rio can’t take the glory away from him. What happens in Rio stays in Rio and Iker Casillas should stay in Real Madrid and La Roja. If he chooses so. We deserve to see more of this most inspiring goalkeeper. I hope we will.

And I hope that, like Casillas, my children will choose hard work and humbleness as a way to reach their dreams.