More than a game

Have you ever imagined seeing a blind person in a football stadium with the same passion for the game and the team as the other fans? If not, let me tell you that this happens and shows how amazing is this sport outside of the four lines. These fans have something that there aren’t words to describe that big and lovely passion for this fantastic game; besides their handicap, they still go to the stadium almost every season. 

Mariana Fernandes / Unsplash

Let me present you Nickollas, a Brazilian kid who supports Palmeiras, and Vicente, an old Spanish supporter of Valencia, who all see the game differently but feel the same way. They go to the game for the same reason – the unique environment of every single game. 

Nickollas is a young Brazilian kid who goes to the stadium with her mother, Silvia. Nickollas was born too early, and because of that, his vision didn’t develop; at an early age, her mom brought him to the stadium to watch the game; in the beginning, we used earphones with radio transmission, but we took them off. He wants to feel the sound of the other supports singing for their team, but her mother wants that her son see the game too and start to narrate every single play of the game. In a reportage to SHeros by FIFA that later gave them the award for The Best Fan in 2019, Silvia says when they go to the football match, it is the happiest day of the week for Nickollas. Like everyone, the goal moment is the best of the game, but for this family, it is even more special and unique than you can imagine. “The best thing in the world for Nickollas is coming to the stadium,”- says his mother. We can say that this story defines the absolute love of a mother and son and the love for football.

Now is time to meet the only sporters with a statue of him inside the stadium in their season seat; Vicente Aparicio was the fan nº18 of Valencia, who never misses home and away games. Vicente, until 54 years, had lost his vision due to a detached retina. This “problem” in his life makes him enjoy even more the game and be in every match at Mestalla (Valencia Stadium). Like every football fan, he did the homework and transmitted the same passion for the game to his son, attended every match, and kept going together until the day Vicente shall pass. On the 100th anniversary of the club (2 years after he’s dead), Valencia did the best thing to remember a supporter like Vicente. They put a statue of him on his season seat so every fan can see him and his son can sit next to his father like back in the days. In the video, Valencia makes the interview his son; I need to highlight this sentence: “The game against Karlsruher was the last time he followed a game on television. He said that, from then on, he would only go to games at Mestalla, to fell the games, to feel Valencia.” and this “He enjoys the atmosphere and I would talk to him through what was happening on the pitch.”

This stories inspiration for all of the fans that even in the bad moments, we should stay together and support until our last breath, and show that this amazing game is more than inside the 4 lines. Do you still think football is only the game that happens inside the pitch?

José Rodrigues

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