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Blind football... really???

I had always heard about blind football, but I had never watched it. Honestly, I admit that I was quite sceptical about it. I mean, I'm Italian and I've always watched football, especially the Italian championship: Francesco Totti... Andrea Pirlo... Alex Del Piero... With such amazing (and sighted!) players, I found it hard to believe that blind people could do anything useful with a ball that they couldn't even see.

However, I was in Budapest last week-end, and some friends asked me to go along and watch them play. I accepted of course, but my doubts remained. I expected the game to be pretty boring and static: after all, I really couldn't bring myself to conceive how players could run fast and score a goal, with a ball between their feet... but no sight! I should add that I'm blind myself and that I can run pretty fast if I know there are no obstacles. Controlling a ball without seeing it, however... no way!

Well, the two hours I spent on the pitch (in a very very very cold tent!) were anything but dull. Players were running around quite fast and didn't seem to have any problem with the ball. The atmosphere was extremely cheerful, and the air was full of voices: the players said "voy" every time they had the ball, and the sighted assistants shouted "itt" ("here") from the goals, to show them in which direction they had to shoot. My head was exploding after half an hour, but I loved the busy atmosphere and slight chaos on the pitch. Many players scored and cheered... and many others missed and swore. Like in any match.

It was plain to see that the players had had a lot of fun, and we went to drink something afterwards. I was lucky enough to talk more in depth about blind football with two of them, both that evening and the days after. Strangely enough, they are both called Szabi. Read the interesting stories that Szabi Forgács and Szabi Orban shared with me.