Over spring break, I went to Paris, France with my mom on a mother-daughter trip. While I played and watched soccer growing up, and often still forced to watch my brother play FIFA on our family room TV, which is the only TV we have in our apartment, whenever he comes home, soccer was never something I really thought about on mother-daughter trips, until now. I have been to France many times, and I know that we always pass a soccer stadium on the drive from Charles De Gaulle airport to Paris; however, this was the first time I decided to point out the stadium to my mom. She glanced out of her window quickly and then back at me with a questioning look saying, “Yes, I know Carolina, we have driven by it many times and it has always been there.” I lamely responded, with “Yeah, I know, I’m just taking Soccer Politics at school and wanted to point it out.” From that point on, for the rest of the trip, I became more aware of not only soccer, but also its representations within society.
A couple days later, I was walking around the grounds outside the Louve just before the Jardin des Tuileries, after leaving lunch at LouLou and I turned to the right to see a pick up soccer game, and they had used two players’ sneakers as the “goal posts.” I was immediately transported back to being in my dorm room watching Pelada, and while the universality of soccer has been a continuous theme throughout the semester, it was different seeing it played out in front of me. Additionally, I was able to make connections between the pick-up game I was walking past and scenes that I had seen in Pelada, specifically the scene where the construction workers who were building the World Cup Stadium in South Africa, used their construction hats as goal posts in their pick-up game. I remember Gwendolyn and Luke said how in many of the pick-up games they watched and played in the players would use anything they had as goal posts, highlighting the dedication and love of the sport. Here, these players were using their soccer boots as goal posts, underscoring this commitment to the game even if some players have to play without the “necessary” gear. It was truly amazing seeing how soccer is integrated into our daily lives, and actually being aware of it. I know if I had seen this exact scene a year or two years ago it would have just gone over my head or I wouldn’t have even noticed.