Summer is approaching, and with it, the smiles of the little ones who go to their closest personal pitch with a ball under their arms. It is true that you don't see that image of young people playing in the street so much anymore. But not so long ago; summer, street and sun were synonymous with the Mikasa ball on asphalt or sand. Of backpacks or stones emulating goals. Maradona said that "the ball does not get stained", however, arriving home with the ball, in itself was an achievement, because if it did not get lost in the heat of battle, the logical thing is that it would not arrive clean or in its original form. Undoubtedly, the true trophy of childhood was arriving with the ball nestled between the hip and forearm.
If the streets could talk, we would get documentaries. In every corner where there was a ball rolling there were smiles. Fernando, for example, a Cuban street child, did not like to play anywhere other than the street because that "did not allow him to slide" and that prevented him from having fun. For Fernando, as for many others, the beauty of playing in the park is that everyone could play. Even the ones without shoes. This is how he told it in the Cuban magazine 'El Estornudo'. The ball is stained.
In my particular case I remember those afternoons fondly. Below my window was a small pink patio with corrugated tiles. There was no more shaky ground. For the generation of children who lived there during that time, that patio will always mean something more. There were no schedules, just the sound of a bouncing ball indicating that someone was playing, which encouraged the rest of the young people to come downstairs to play until the sun went down. We were a troubled generation. What we saw as steps were houses where we forgot that there were people sleeping. We didn't have schedules, but the rest of mortals did, and it was logical. They closed our yard.
Football forced us to live the first moment of our lives in which our hearts break. That fateful moment where a sign is hung that reads: playing ball is prohibited. It is striking that it affected us so much, especially considering that a few meters away we had some municipal tracks. But it is that they had touched our stage where we made music. Where what mattered least was the result and above all, the resources. It was not only a pitch, for us, the best; it was also the most mundane discussion forum imaginable.
I have seen many patios since then, some even with better aesthetics. I suppose that the patio or street where one decides to stain their ball for the first time will always be something that is kept within one's heart and that is difficult to overcome. Especially when you have it under your window. For years the most absolute silence has been ruled over that patio and the only ones from the ball that can be appreciated come from afar, from a track a few meters from our favorite stadium in the world: the pink patio with wavy tiles.
It is the magic of the stained ball that has awakened the illusion in many of us, especially for the little things. For the small moments and for the noble things. The magic of the stained ball that made us forget for a moment that we were children, that we were mortal. We thought we were stars until our parents didn't call for dinner.