BEIRUT – For our 80 children, it’s the last morning of training. We are on the small pitch where the final sessions are being held following Inter Campus’s trip to Lebanon. This small place with synthetic grass and metal fences is extremely important for our children. It may not be as beautiful as the Meazza, but for them it is a sacred place where they can play freely. During the day, they cannot play in a carefree way on the dangerous streets of the Shatila Refugee Camp.
This situation doesn’t stop Inter Campus from carrying out activities. On the contrary, it encourages us to make the hours that the children spend with us even more magical. And so we organise the children into groups, prepare what we want to do, and then the session begins. The first part focuses on basic movement patterns. The children run, jump, roll and throw as they play using the cones and balls. Sounds coming mopeds, old cars, the muezzin and life at the Shatila Refugee Camp are always there and make everything chaotic. Nevertheless, a bit of music is added to this noise – and it’s very pleasant to listen to: it’s the emotions the children feel when playing. They laugh, scream euphorically and celebrate. They move freely, experimenting with many different movements, thus allowing to learn about themselves, to learn about their own and their friends’ bodies.
The training session continues with more of a technical focus: the children need to work the ball, shoot, score or win games with their teammates until the culminating moment which everyone enthusiastically waits for on every pitch throughout the world arrives: the final match.
When training finishes and we leave the pitch, we once again find ourselves thinking about how strong and important an instrument football is, how it’s able to contribute to the development of childrens’ characters and create a magic bubble that is alien to the world. Football is simply wonderful, even when it’s not being played at the Meazza.