This 9-Year-Old Brazilian Soccer Fan Teaches Us All A Lesson On Sportsmanship
After his team took a humiliating 7-1 thrashing by Germany on their home turf, Brazilian soccer Captain David Luiz (who before today I knew only as “Awesome Hair Guy”) wept openly and uncontrollably on the field. It was the type of unabashed display of emotion you almost never see in my country, the U.S., so even though I am not the type of person who follows soccer, I was heartbroken for the guy. Apparently I’m not the only one, because the display prompted 9-year-old soccer fan Ana Luz to send Luiz a letter telling him not to be sad, and this kid could really teach U.S. kids a thing or two about sportsmanship and love of the game versus love of winning.
The letter reads;
“Hi David Luiz,
My name is Ana Luz. I saw all of the Brazil games in the World Cup and I liked it a lot watching you play.
I think that you don’t need to be sad because you played well and did the best you could. You were a great captain.
Life is like this, sometimes people lose and sometimes people win but people only need to be happy.
David Luiz, you are my champion.
Ana Luz Penna Reale“
If that isn’t enough to get the onion cutting ninjas going, Ana even included an adorable drawing of Luiz, holding a trophy, to show him that he is still her hero.
Luiz was touched and wrote a left a moving response on his Instagram page:
“Many thanks princess Ana Luz, loved your letter! And thanks to all Brazilians for all the support! I’ll never give up my dreams, and I will always strive to give back all that love I receive! God bless you all!”
Too often, when you think of kids and sports (at least U.S. sports), you think of angry parents on the sidelines and kids getting little trophies just for participating. Kids in the U.S. often never have to deal with the pain of losing, and therefore never learn how to deal with that loss and move on. In the real world, you don’t have your parents fighting your battles, and you don’t get an award just for showing up. And that’s okay. Winning and losing are both parts of life, and as little Ana said, the important part is to do your best, and stay happy. Sometimes you lose, and you use that experience to up your game and do better next time. That’s real sportsmanship, and it’s something many U.S. sports leagues for kids are seriously lacking.
(Photo: Getty Images)