Monday, 5 December 2011

Socrates - RIP

Today we mourn the passing of the Brazilian great footballer Socarates. I can honestly say if I could swap my life for anyone, I think I'd choose his. Whilst there are many great footballers and many who played for Brazil, Socrates was different. He was a medically qualified doctor and he was also a political activist, using his huge popularity as a footballer to advance the cause of freedom and democracy in Brazil. perhaps his spirit was best summed up in this quote from the Guardian obituary :
At a time when most people were still afraid to speak out against the regime, Sócrates politicised football; and he was as proud of his team's valiant contribution in helping dismantle the dictatorship as he was of his considerable football achievements. At the end of 1982, Corinthians won the São Paulo state championship with "Democracia" printed on the back of their black shirts. Sócrates told Alex Bellos, the author of Futebol (2002), that it was "perhaps the most perfect moment I ever lived. And I'm sure it was for 95% of [my teammates] too."
Some people say sport/music and politics don't mix. I take the opposite view, I think that there should be a burden placed upon those who have wealth and privilege to use their position to stand up for those who are repressed and to fight for what is right. The world is full of people who reach the top, forget where they came from and turn their backs on the people who put them on a pedestal.

Socrates was also a man who lived life to the full. He could neck a good skinful of beer and had six children. My fondest memories of his playing career are in the 1982 World Cup. Some people just make the beautiful game look easy. Socrates was one of these. His father had named him after the great philosopher. For many this would be an unbearable burden, but he made the name his own and added a new Socratic legend. Should I ever have another son (which right now seems pretty unlikely!) I will name him Socrates in honour of the great man.

Sócrates (Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira), footballer, born 19 February 1954; died 4 December 2011

1 comment:

button55 said...

I remember him well in the 1982 world cup fantastic player..