The smile that possibly changed my life

    The smile that possibly changed my life

    Thanks to football, I’ve been able to enjoy unique experiences that have changed the way I see life. Perhaps one of the most beautiful and striking experiences was my first visit to India thanks to the Vicente Ferrer Foundation.

    My great passion, football, gave me the opportunity to discover a world different from what I had seen all my life. In the days leading up to it, you try to imagine what it will be like, what you will find, and how you will react. But nothing could prepare me for the reality. The cultural and social shock is immense, and everything we take for granted may not be so normal in other parts of the world. Landing in Bangalore was like stepping into a completely new world.

    I remember the heat and the smell of spices hitting me as soon as I stepped out of the airport. Perhaps going in May wasn’t the best idea if you want to escape the heat. On the journey to Anantapur, where the Vicente Ferrer Foundation’s RDT is located, it was the first time I experienced driving on the left lane, another novelty. Used to the large highways entering and exiting Barcelona, the highway we were on was more humble and smaller.

    I also remember seeing people working in conditions far from what seemed normal to me. People walking barefoot on the streets, individuals carrying a myriad of items on motorcycles, entire families (of four, yes) on a single motorcycle, with the child doing homework between the mother and father.

    Once we arrived at the RDT, where we spent 10 days, we met the volunteers who worked there year-round, coming from different parts of the world with the same goal as Vicente Ferrer: to eradicate poverty in one of the most disadvantaged areas of India.

    The next day, the start of the football camp, and once again the same feeling of seeing a very different reality: boys and girls looking at us with tremendous excitement, barefoot and with something I will never forget in my entire life: a huge smile.

    And it’s possibly this smile that changed my life.

    When you take the step to get involved in a project like this, you always have the motivation to help, to be able to give what you have to others who, unfortunately, do not. You firmly believe in solidarity and seek to give as much as possible. At least, that’s what I thought, and I left Anantapur thinking I was completely wrong.

    Because even though I had coached children’s teams for many years, worked at a school in extracurricular activities, organized camps, and other sports events, I found it hard to remember such a sincere and profound smile.

    And that led me to question why those children, without having what others have, are happier? Is it because we have too much and don’t appreciate what we have? Because we have everything so accessible that we don’t give it any importance?

    The football camp was short but intense, many hours on the field and a lot of heat, but the smile was still there, making us feel like the best coaches in the world. The gratitude felt was absolute, and despite wanting to return it, I’m sure we couldn’t make them realize how grateful we were.

    Despite the obvious language barriers (at that time my English was nonexistent), they listened attentively to all the explanations, gave 100% of what they had, and repeated what we said over and over again. A paradise for coaches.

    Another moment I remember perfectly is the end of the camp, when you say goodbye to those boys and girls who have helped you grow as a person, and you don’t know how to thank them. Intense moments that are deeply felt and that made me promise to return.

    We start the journey thinking we are going to help them, and when we return, we realize that they are the ones who have helped us.

    Thanks to the Vicente Ferrer Foundation and the Sports Association of Sant Vicenç de Montalt, I was able to return after two years. And it’s been over 7 years since then. It’s time to go back.

    Nothing makes me happier than being able to say that XVAcademy will be present at the 13th football camp in Anantapur. We will try to contribute our bit by coordinating the football camp, its methodology, and offering training sessions to local coaches.

    Follow our social media to follow our journey, which will begin on May 1st!


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