Philosophy.

SOCCER IS A METAPHOR FOR LIFE

I read this quote by Jean Paul Sartre a few years ago when I was in college, and in it I found an awareness and an answer to a feeling that I have had since I was young, and that had been surfacing more and more as time went by. The playing field is doubtlessly one of the best training grounds to practice acceptance of rules and responsibilities, and at the same time to focus on studying and practicing the game. Starting from the etymology of the term “game”, which is usually related to a childish activity, we have now reassessed it in a pedagogical key, resorting to two great minds from the past: Huizinga and Fink, who, on the other hand, described it as a completely serious activity, because games win the apparent dualisms between freedom and rules, seriousness and lightness, reality and fiction, without affecting the intrinsically aesthetic quality of the game, which manifests itself in the gestures of the players. These gestures, that righteously exist at one exact time, feed the feeling of wonder in the players but first and foremost in the spectators. That feeling of wonder, that is the same for children and adults, a niece or nephew and their grandparents, is what preserves the mystery of the game and its essence.

That’s it, a save by Buffon or a goal by Messi, are not just technical end-to-themselves gestures, they are also a representation tool for a much longer and articulated process. The origin of those final executions must be looked for in the thought that triggers the final action.

All the great coaches, from Mourinho to Bielsa, from Ancelotti to Guardiola, are philosophers and directors, who have to face on the field differing tactical ideas, and nonetheless they must focus their attention on achieving their common goal: the benefit of the team. In order to coexist in a team, everybody’s absolute priority must be the acceptance of a rule system, just like for living in a civil society.

As we mentioned above, on one hand these rules limit individual freedom, on the other they guarantee the survival of the individual within the group, and the survival of the group itself.

Real freedom is to choose self-limitation.

I PLAY, AND I WILL CONTINUE TO PLAY, BECAUSE I CHOSE TO DO IT. EVEN THOUGH IT IS NOT YOUR IDEAL LIFE, YOU CAN CHOOSE IT. YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR LIFE, CHOOSING CHANGES EVERYTHING.

And it is clear that with all the possible choices in a team, the role of the goalkeeper is the one that embodies most the ability to choose. The work on the field that is needed to become a good goalkeeper becomes a journey similar to the one to become good human beings.

All the goalkeepers that return to the field, especially after a disappointment are just people who are focusing and challenging their fears, taking on their responsibilities for the challenges that life puts on their ways.

SO THE LIVES THAT MAKE SENSE ARE THOSE THAT, REGARDLESS OF THEIR FRAGILITY, TAKE ON THEIR PROBLEMS. THOSE THAT DO NOT MAKE SENSE ARE THOSE THAT IGNORE THE PROBLEMS, AS IF THEY LIVED IN TIMES OF BLISSFULL INNOCENCE.

In order to choose such responsibility and to understand the challenges, it is fundamental to know the language, because the language is what distinguishes, defines and gives a name, meaning that it attracts things to the spiritual domain. It makes it possible for us to give names to life, to our experiences, because it is through language that we name things, from the simplest ones to the most complex. Naming is precious for everybody; we name to defend ourselves from dangers. If we weren’t able to name them, we wouldn’t know what they are, if we weren’t able to name them, we wouldn’t be able to accept them or to challenge them. Giving names is a choice. Choosing is a matter of taste, therefore it’s a matter of beauty.
That’s where naming and playing cross their paths, in the aesthetic field, in the deepest value of beauty. Can the beauty (of the game) save the world? The playing field, as we said above, is one of the best training grounds to practice on the one hand acceptance of rules and responsibility, and on the other to train on the study and the practice of beauty, through the beauty of the game.

Practicing this habit leads us out there, in real life, with the ability to discern what is pretty and right from what represents the evil and its banalization.

What led you here, to this website, was a long and maybe twisted journey, full of questions, looking for new answers. Therefore now, you have the right to expect to receive those answers and to reach to some conclusions.

There is an eternal contradiction in the role of coaches, because on the one hand, they pass on knowledge and skills, but on the other, they must always question their own knowledge. To date, the only thing I am absolutely sure about and I can bring onto these pages, is this ungrateful responsibility that we have to live with every day.

THE FACULTY OF DELUDING ONE‘S SELF THAT TODAY’S REALITY IS THE ONLY TRUE ONE, IF ON THE ONE HAND IT AFFORDS US A SUPPORT, ON THE OTHER HAND HURLS US INTO A BOTTOMLESS VOID, FOR THE REASON THAT TODAY’S REALITY IS DESTINED TO DISCOVER ITSELF AN ILLUSION TOMORROW. AND LIFE KNOWS NO CONCLUSION. IT CANNOT KNOW ANY. IF TOMORROW THERE WERE TO BE A CONCLUSION, ALL WOULD BE OVER.

(Pirandello, One, None And A Hundred-Thousand)

Tomorrow’s illusion. And life knows no conclusion. It cannot know any. If tomorrow there were to be a conclusion, all would be over.

My hope is that everybody who has come to this point, feels the same as I do: like the young man Faust in Goethe’s play. Goethe’s Faust tells the story of Faust, a young man who made a deal with Mephistopheles. The latter took Faust’s soul in exchange of a life that the young man would then spend looking for knowledge and pleasure. The main character who in the beginning is still immature, going through an exceptional succession of events, manages to reach the highest level of enlightenment and freedom.

This poem marked a definite separation between Christian-Lutheran modernity and the scientific revolution. In the whole play the theme of the “salvific search” is a loyal travel companion. In the Prelude, Faust is chosen by Mephistopheles for his thirst of knowledge: “And all the Near and Far that he desireth /Fails to subdue the tumult of his breast.” Immediately after, talking about Faust, God confessed to Mephistopheles: “Though still confused his service unto Me, / I soon shall lead him to a clearer morning./ Sees not the gardener, even while buds his tree, / Both flower and fruit the future years adorning?”.

And so it would be. In the end, when Faust experienced the whole world, love and sorrow, for him too – as for Hegel’s knowledge – the “glass” overflowed. It was on his death bed that he was pervaded by anxiety, when he felt the night becoming deeper, but only then, in the darkest time, he saw clearer within himself. He fell in the arms of the Lemurs, after uttering the words of the pact: “For the moment I shall say: stay awhile! You’re so beautiful.

He lost his bet and his life but saved his soul:
“Whoever aspires unweariedly / Is not beyond redeeming.”

These are the words that the angels uttered while taking Faust’s soul from the demons to lift it up to heaven. It was the last thought that Faust had before falling, that we find hope: reclaiming an immense swampy ground to open living spaces to millions of human beings.

And precisely on this ground, although blind and physically destroyed, Faust had the supreme vision:
“Being on free soil with a free people.”

The topic of the quest, of the thirst for knowledge, of a sense of responsibility and feeling responsible. We started from a football and a soccer field, and now here we are talking about the meaning of life and why we are in this world.

I believe that our humble duty, and our tiny role in the world is to pass on our thirst for knowledge. But this is our highest and most noble responsibility, as coaches, teachers, but first and foremost human beings.

Does it matter what we teach? No, because it will change.
Does it matter how we teach it? Yes, because that will stay and leave a mark.

Welcome to this website, where we look for our “how”.
Our little shred of eternity.
The only one I know.

Francesco Farioli