Kids back to emulate their heroes

Edson Arantes de Nascimento – or Pelé as most may know him by – arguably the greatest footballer to grace the world’s grassy stage (apologies to the many Argentinian supporters), often said: ‘Football is emotion!’

Tomorrow, emotional levels that have finally normalised over the summer for players, parents and fans alike, spike to uncontrollable levels yet again as the 2008/2009 CUC Primary Football League kicks off at venues across the island.

The weeks of aching muscles, blisters, bruises and fatigue from training are quickly a thing of the past as referees’ whistles sound to commence proceedings.

This is it. A chance to prove your worth; to show what you and your team can do with a football, and more importantly, to enjoy the games and have fun.

With 15 schools competing for the coveted titles, reigning champions have very little time to rest on their laurels.

A new season brings new expectations, and for Under-9 Champions Cup champions St. Ignatius Prep, U-9 Consolation Cup champions George Town Primary, U-11 Champions Cup champions Cayman Prep, and U-11 Consolation Cup champions Triple C, the pressure is on.

Who can forget the nerve-wracking U-11 Champions Cup final played less than a year ago when Cayman Prep and Prospect Primary battled heroically for the top spot?

To win on the final penalty during the deciding and dreaded penalty shootout was almost too much to bear for those in attendance that day.

Emotions were running high as this writer witnessed tears shed on both sides. The wave of exhilaration and joy that emanated from the victorious Cayman Prep contingent was unavoidably captivating in stark contrast to the tears of utter disappointment and sorrow from the defeated but proud Prospect Primary entourage.

Honestly, this brought tears even to my eyes. What a finish to a wonderful game!

Or who can forget the joy in seeing U-9 Consolation Cup champions George Town Primary lift the trophy after finishing the regular season winless? Miss Martin and her boys were in seventh heaven.

Another memorable moment was the overwhelming pride generated in watching Truth for Youth’s dedicated coach orvin palacio congratulate and embrace all his players for their excellent performance during a truly remarkable season, even though they came up short in the U-11 Consolation Cup finals.

Then there was the happiness felt for Triple C’s first year coach spencer Merren and his players after the Crusaders joyously paraded the U-11 Consolation Cup around the field.

This emotion embodies the Primary Football League. Imagine the pressure these youngsters feel when it’s down to the last penalty, or the final shot, or save, or tackle.

I remember the words a former Cayman Islands national coach once preached over and over again, ‘pressure makes diamonds’.

Gems are what this nation has in these youngsters and the responsibility of ensuring that their love and respect for the beautiful game never falters, lies in the hands of parents, coaches, teachers and supporters.

We all want to see them do well but we must never forget that it’s of the utmost importance at this level that they enjoy the game and have fun – win, lose or draw.

So come this Saturday, pack the kids up – those who are not playing – and make your way to the closest Primary School venue and support the youngsters. You’ll be guaranteed two hours of non-stop, exhilarating action that is ‘the powerful game’.

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