Brazil is, in Ishie Dawood's words, "a land of contrasts." It's people,
regions, and economy vary drastically, so that the over 141 million people in the country live very differant lives. But one thing that they share is their love for that familiar sport that is on TV, magazines, and the news in general: soccer.
In Brazil, soccer (called football, as in most European countries) is the national sport and it has devoted fans from all walks of life. Football clubs in Brazil are often undefeated in worldwide competitions, and thousands of people pack the stadiums at each game, making the bleachers look like a sea of red, yellow, blue and white.
Soccer first came into Brazil only as long ago as the early 1900's,
introduced by a man called Charles Miller. He had learned the sport while attending school in England, and in 1906, the Rio Football League was formed. Brazilians caught on almost immediatly, and soon became loyal fans. The most loved hero's in Brazil are players on leading football teams, such as Flamengo and Fluminense, and perhaps the greatest is Pelé. With a career that lasted over ten years, he scored a record 1000 goals in that time and is known all over the world. Like almost all of the young boys in Brazil, he started playing on the streets of his small hometown, but now Brazilians can watch him with pride.
Even though many people don't even have a place to live, football is played in enormous stadiums, like Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. The sport has become a prominent part of the mixed cultures of South America's biggest occupant, but not part of it's problem. Fans are always enthusiastic, but rarely, if ever, violent to people who are cheering on the opposing team. Brazilians are interested in the talent and skill needed to win each game, rather then just winning by itself.
Every country has it's children who watch avidly their favorite soccer
player and dream of being just like them when they grow up. They practise on the streets, beaches, or deserted lots - anywhere that has room to kick a ball. Brazil is no differant.
This year, in Junior High, part of the studies were on Brazil, and I found it fascinating. Along with soccer, (or football), this foreign country is filled with wonders of all sorts, including the "man-killing" piranha who has never been recorded to kill a human, and the Iguazu Falls which Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, described as "making the Niagara look like a kitchen faucet."
A closing note - just the same as Brazil, though we're years and miles apart in so many ways, we don't just live in a land of contrasts. With sports, we make one.
All information taken for this peice is owing to "Brazil - Land of
Contrasts," by Ishie Dawood (who has been to Brazil 4 times), and published by Reidmore Books.
Many thanks to Penny Mahan.
You may contact her at: email@example.com