What the World Cup can do with a nation.

Tuesday, we played our first game on the World Championship since Prendergast stole Marc Wilmots’ goal 12 years ago against Brazil. 

Since we were not present an any of the international tournaments in the past 12 years, we had to cheer for Germany, Spain or the Netherlands. Many did, but still it’s not the same. This year is different, we participate ourselves. Even better, we think we can win. Our golden generation plays in the best competitions in the world so why wouldn’t we? To be honest, I don’t think we will get that far. We talk too much of winning instead of just playing the best we can and enjoy. But still, I hope we will win the final.

Last Tuesday I followed our game on a big screen with 200 other people, all cheering for our Red Devils to win. The game was boring and we were loosing for the biggest part of it.

But what I will remember of this game is that everyone was part of one big group being said and hoping we would score that one goal that would free our players. Even people who said they do not follow the results of the Red Devils were hoping for the best, I’m sure of that. It was not that our country stopped functioning during the game, we are not that crazy yet.

And then finally we scored, everyone was happy and everything was possible now. Maybe we could still win our first game since long on a big tournament. And yes we did. 10 minutes later everyone jumped with hands in the air. 2-1! The happiness I saw at that moment was incredible. We are a country divided in two parts and enrolled in difficult politic discussions. At that moment none of this matters, everyone jumped together for the same purpose. We scored and we won the game. Amazing.

When driving home, it was amazing to see what was happening on the street. People everywhere. Cheering, yelling, waving our flag. Sometimes when I drive trough Brussels I’m afraid. Now, all the people where smiling and talking to each other. It was like I landed in  a different country. Who knows what happens when we win the final…

 

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Strike back!

Here I am, sitting in my sofa legs up. Resting? Yes, but not voluntary. Sport is healthy they always say, not for me this weekend. While playing soccer I hurt my quadriceps. Diagnosis: 3 months out. 

I love to sport. I play soccer, jog from time to time and when soccer season is over I ride my bike. But this season is not my lucky one. It already started while preparing for first soccer training in July. My knee hurted so I could not run as often as I wanted. Cycling was ok, but that is not the same. By the start of the soccer season, I knew immediately how late it was. I had not the condition I intended to have. So I struggled to keep up with my opponents in the first games and everything hurted. But I had a plan. I started with some easy jogging sessions after every training and game. That way my basic condition went up and my muscles recuperated better. Doing so, I managed to get better and ready for the start of the competition. We won the first game and I played the whole 90 minutes without a problem. So my advice: never give up!

But my luck did not lasted long. In the second game, I hurt my self in a fight for the ball. I managed to finish the game but I had to watch from the side for the next 8 weeks. But ok, there are worse things that can happen. I did whatever I could to prepare my comeback and I enjoyed it. Normally I am not a fan of jogging during winter but I really liked it. It was nice to be moving again.

As I said, it is not my lucky season. We are 2 months later after my comeback and I am laying here, writing a short story about my season. The moment I felt something in my quadriceps I knew it was more or less the same as last time. It appears it’s even worse so my season is over. I am disappointed. Not in myself or my muscles. No, just disappointed I can’t play the last games of the season. Disappointed that I can’t move a lot for some time.

But no worries, there is a lot of other stuff to enjoy. I can watch my teammates play and win some more games. I have some extra time to do some stuff I like but did not have the time to do. Revalidation started yesterday, so I’ve set myself a target. I want to be ready for cycling season by the end of soccer season. By doing so, I will be able to build a good basic condition for coming soccer season.

So what did I learn from all this? Never let bad things strike you down, always strike back and enjoy the opportunities!