Thursday, August 27, 2009

ANITA ASANTE ( US Professional Soccer Player ) takes on Discussion Topic 1- "ROLE OF FAMILY IN A SPORTS PERSON'S LIFE..."

(Article by Anita Asante: #5 Sky Blue FC and England International Defender.)
Family is important in every one's life and I feel especially important in mine. I guess I just started recognizing the importance of the support I received from my parents and siblings, now that I have grown up and matured with age. As a kid growing up, ("Football" as the Sport is called in Europe) was first thing on my mind the moment I returned from school.All I wanted to do was throw my trainers on and hang out with the boys for a competitive game of Street Football in our local courts...  

I sometimes sit back and think; "Wow, aren't I lucky that I have parents that support my ambition in Football?" I am fortunate enough that I was allowed to accrue cuts and bruises while taking on and getting kicked by dad not "batting an eyelid' and my mum probably hoping this was just a phase. However, when my big opportunity came at fourteen to play in the U 16's Arsenal Centre of Excellence, I jumped at the chance with my dad equally pleased that I was going to play for the team he supported. My mum, at this point was nervous about what role she would have to fulfill in terms of shuttling me around to-and-from training and matches especially because she would rather not have to drive outside a 10-mile radius from our home.

People may wonder why my parents' support for me would at all be questionable. My first answer to this is; I am a female  playing Football, which in the earlier days of my participation was considered unusual. (Many, a girl, in the English cities, suburbs and the countryside might be thinking they were the only girl remotely interested in Football, let alone playing with a majority of boys!)
Secondly, my parents are Ghananian and have grown  up with the traditional and cultural views that mostly uphold that women should stay at home, look after her children and husband, or alternatively, focus on Education  and not consider chasing dreams in Sports- especially Sports dominated by men. I have lived a life where these views have not crept into my childhood, nor in my adult life sofar. My parents recognized my talent, passion and drive, and put in as much effort as I did. Without them I would not be in the position I am now...that of posessing a master's Degree in Politics and of being a professional  Soccer Player in the Women's Professional Soccer League in the USA. 

 Of course my family had doubts and fears...the same fears that most parents hold about their childrens' future. Those fears started off as, "I hope she doesn't get hurt playing with the boys,or get into trouble" and then developed into "what future can can she have playing football... she needs to focus more on her education". In the end my ability to balance both studies and my Football with the support and of my parents assured them that I could manage both. I have many exciting, funny and sad stories through my football experiences, but so do my parents. They enjoyed watching me play and they established friendships with other "Soccer" parents.

I must mention my brother's and sister's role in supporting me because it is easy for them to get lost in the foray of my Football highs and lows. There is no doubt in my mind at all that my brother Andrew, the second oldest sibling, may have felt sidelined or even overshadowed by my Football events at times, but funny enough Andrew always knew more about what I was doing than I did. For example, I would have to ask him who I was playing on the weekend or who scored the goals in our game or got substituted, the list goes on... ridiculous I know. So, I guess you can see why I was happy for him to be around. He was  and is still is hub of information and memory!
I think I've rambled on enough. My family has always been there through the ups and downs. They are always my biggest footy critics, but have also been my reliable "mode" of transportation... just kidding! I know one thing for sure without them I would not be living the dream. ***To interract with Anita Asante on Facebook, click on the link...

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