A game and a fight

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By Erma M. Cuizon

Sun.Star Essay

Sunday, March 23, 2014

THE first-page photo of Prime Sports in this paper’s issue some days ago is strange-looking to a simple sports reader. It is a picture of two boys in a headlock during a football game of boys 18-Under between Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu and the Alcoy Football Club in the 16th
Aboitiz Football Cup held at the Aboitiz Sports Field in Mandaue last March 16.

But it wasn’t a normal headlock in a game between an Alcoy goalkeeper and an Ateneo player. The same picture also shows a strange man in the game looking like he is coming to the rescue of his godson in the Alcoy FC side by going after his godson’s adversary, the goalkeeper. Another man in the photo is seen coming from the side running into the field to stop
the scramble.

This was only one part of the brawl in the event. The news mentions “trash talk” between the teams, and so on.


What do football games do to a father as a whole when the young one gets into a sports fray? Games are still fights, and will stay that way, like fights of families even as there’s something family in football (soccer) games. Even women in the family cheer for the boys.

Take one mother who signed up her son to a team. Monet Farr Bartell’s husband wanted his boy to play chess but the woman got her way. After all, Monet’s father, Mel Farr Sr., played in a league for seven seasons, her uncle in the same league, also her own two brothers and a number of cousins.

Who started it all?
In the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC, football was an exercise in the military manual in China.

Called cuju (meaning “kick ball”), the game was all about kicking a
leather ball through a small hole in a silk cloth fixed on bamboo canes
hanging above the ground. Later, it would become a game for children.

The game was adopted with variations in Japan and Korea.

This feet-based ball game is said to have been played even way back, like in Greece and Egypt. Later rules allowed the use of hands, feet, even sticks, to control the ball. There could have been circumstances when player families have sons with the dream of becoming a football player like the father or the uncle, or the grandfather. It would be like football or soccer as part of family history.

This is like the dream of sons in the rural areas in the family where boys dream of becoming policemen.

When a professional football team comes to town to look for boys to train, the boys surely will want to become football players.

Especially in the US, a football player could take after the father, or the grandfather. There are also brothers; in fact there are twin brothers as football players.

In these days, we have football families. Boys in the towns would love to run after the ball in a dream team. A father-and-son tandem is in a family where football is a usual part of growing up.

Perhaps through the years, the men behind the football events have studied ways to control aggression in the feet-based ball game and safeguard the players. But as fans would say, the rush and brush
is part of the “electric beauty of the game.”

Along the years, there have been injuries on the field happening to young men and boys in collision with speed players. In the full-contact game, the players could have sprains, fractures, dislocations, or worse, concussions. According to a research on post-career life of football players, the chance of players getting Alzheimer’s disease or sclerosis is four times more than the average American male.

Knowing all these and more, wouldn’t you forget yourself and rush into the field after the (god)son’s adversary player in their headlock?

But it’s no excuse to hurt the other boy. And how serious is the reason for a family to react violently to a game in the field? At press time, the Cebu Football Association is looking into the case of the SHSAteneo
de Cebu and Alcoy FL headlock and the job is not easy.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 23, 2014.


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