When I was a young boy, I was obsessed with football (soccer). What are the sociological and political origins of this obsession and what political role football played in Titoist Yugoslavia, I’ll leave for another post. This is just a story of boys—or rather of a boy—and of the love of the game.
Bye Bye Синиша Михајловић (Siniša Mihajlović)
Boys and sports: I could translate the column to baseball and it would describe my youth.
I love this article, thank you for sharing and Happy New Year.
Loved this post Branko. It reminded me a lot of my own childhood in Spain in the late 1960s and early 70s. Fútbol was played on the street and in tiny spaces. Lots of dribbling and short passes. As a girl I was not supposed to play, but I loved fútbol and played with my brother on a neighborhood boys team (until they kicked me out at age 12 for being better than some of the boys). My brother and I also invented our own league and teams and played in our tiny back yard at home using the wall and some random objects as ‘additional’ players. Needless to say there a few broken windows....
Yugoslavia was always great in World Cups. Very stylish, maybe the most "Latin American" European team. The Eastern Bloc was very good at football, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, the USSR, all had great teams and players. Those were the days.
Absolutely, Željo was my team... The good old days. Have a great holiday season and a Happy New Year!!
At sunset: “last goal wins!”
Personal, emotional, even to those rare Yugoslav boys whose fathers were strongly against football and who never played it. Thank you.
Beautiful memories written down in a dry manner. I still remember playing football as a child in the 90s in Budapest. No civil war, no bombings, no cruel 90s as in Belgrade, still the same feeling as a child.
I love thus still life connecting each of us here in Eastern Europe, with the same stories across time and space from the 70s till even nowadays.
Wonderful article, growing up in Sarajevo i can totally relate... Just change the name of the teams and the story goes on...
What a beautiful post. Here in Brazil we had a handful improvised "games" too, like for playing on the street or when we had just a few kids and zero golliee. The capacity to adapt to unfavorable conditions in order to be able to play (and be absolutely delighted with however is possible to play) seems to be ingrained on children. And, in that matter, no game is so democratic as football!
What a beautiful post... Looking forward to the follow-up (hope it comes soon)!
Thank you so much for this beautifully written very personal piece.
Now I read through the comments, I should say I didnt grow up in Yugoslavia ... but football boyhoods resemble each other across countries and cultures, it seems ...
Yes I enjoyed it also, only players do it more for the money today and aren't the Gods we envisioned as children
The beautiful game!