Mariam de Haan

(04 October 1993 / Pemba, Tanzania)

God's miracle

Say not
That this is just a game.
As I watch the little boys play
After a heavy school day
He goes straight to the field,
And there he is in his element
Raising up the dust
As he scores that goal.

Say not
That this is just a game.
As the boys make their football
Collecting plastic from the dumps
And cutting ropes that were washing lines.
As the boys create a pitch
Or just play on the road,
They take sticks or stones
And they build a goal.

Say not
That this is just a game.
As these boys return home at night
Return to be whipped after their delight
The ball will be smashed,
The plastic seperated from the rope
And the field will be taken.
To the farmers and goat herders it will be given
But the boys collect themselves, with undying determination
And they go back to playing football.

Say not
That this is just a game.
As the scout sees that young player
And he is sent to England
Maybe he will play with Man U or maybe Inter.
He sees a world far from home
From sunny rays to raindropp beats.

Say not
That this is just a game.
As that girl plays on the boy's team
She raises rumours,
As people see her and say she will not marry
She drops her bucket of water and goes to be goalie.
The boys boo and make fun of her
But they know she is a very good player.
And she is an example to other little girls
Who long for that ball and not for pearls.

Say not
That this is just a game.
As old men sleep in bars
Just so they can see that match
Of their favourite English team,
And when they reach home their angry wives will ask
'What will that team give you if they win? '
The men will go to bed silent
But their minds know the answer
'They will give me pride, and honour.'

Say not
That this is just a game.
As the world cup starts
Linking whole nations.
And in that stadium
There is no such thing as rich, poor, colour or religion.
Because everybody will mix
As they go to cheer their country,
And their players from Eto'o to Messi.

Say not
That this is just a game.
When that player has the ball
At the box for a penalty
And it is the finale
When all hearts will stop.
And all breaths are held.
And when that goal is scored,
Each cheer is louder than the next
Every person with smiles so big
Both in the stands and on the field
There stand a connection of confusion,
But also true happiness.

Say not
That this is just a game.
When the team will hold that cup
And the whole country becomes a champion
Every man, every woman, and all the children.
It's name goes down in history
And it will be known as a cup holding nation.

Say not
That this is just a game.
No, this is football.
This is God's miracle,
To that little boy and girl
To that man who knows the answer
To not one but all,
And to you and me as well

Say not
That this is just a game.
For this, this is football!

Submitted: Sunday, October 21, 2012
Edited: Sunday, December 16, 2012

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

I wrote this poem during the world cup of 2010 but I think it always relates. The poem speaks for itself, however just to clarify by football I mean soccer not American football.

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