The other night, Jon and I Netflixed a really great documentary called “Kicking It,” which is about the Homeless World Cup. It was a great film, focused on six individual players from different countries as they make their way onto teams and to South Africa to play soccer.
At first, it may seem like a strange form of outreach, forming soccer teams of homeless people. I mean, aren’t there other, more concrete things they need beyond a recreational activity? But soccer is more powerful than it may seem. Just being on a team, having goals, getting to celebrate small successes is a new experience for many of the players, who are often lonely outcasts, estranged from family, battling addictions. One player from Ireland was attempting to end a heroin addiction, and being on the soccer team in essence gave him a reason to keep living, a reason for his mother to finally be proud of him, a reason to get clean. Another player from America had been abused and rejected by his family, and was dealing with lots of anger and abandonment issues, but being on a team was sort of his first experience in a functioning “family,” one that expected him to deal with his anger in more appropriate ways. Continue reading “kicking it, kicking homelessness”