I played soccer for sixteen years. Select, Premiere, high school, and recreational. All positions, even goalkeeper when playing indoor. I still remember standing in front of the television, putting the final green and yellow colors of Brazil on my face only a few minutes before France won the world cup. That was 1998.
Through all those years, there was one, singular piece of advice I heard more consistently than anything else. During practice, it was repeated by my coaches as a mantra; during games, it was screamed from the sidelines as a command:
Because the ball moves faster than a player -- even a soccer player -- you can only consistently outmaneuver your opponent by passing. As a kid, a good forward can juke through a whole defense. Advanced players know how to stall, how to poke and angle. You have to pass around them. If you learn this, you can work around even superior numbers, and dictate the flow of the game.
But you can't pass unless you have a player on the wings. Someone open. "Making space" means getting away from the masses, away from the action and the energy, out into open territory where there isn't anyone else. That's how you make things happen.
The instinct is always to move towards the conflict, towards the ball. With very young players, the game can sometimes take the appearance of a rugby scrum. It's funny, but boring. The ball doesn't move anywhere. Kids get their shins kicked, but nothing happens.
Only when you find the wings, the wide-open, unoccupied turf away from the center, does the game get exciting again.
Many dissident young men these days are itching to stretch their legs. They look for a cause, a fight. They want to do something, but feel constrained and locked in by an overarching social system that does not want young men to be free.
Naturally, they turn to politics.
They lean into the conflict, towards the ball and the action, to try to express themselves and make things happen. But they don't achieve anything. And they might get hurt.
Like children stampeding into a soccer scrum.
The things that these young men want are achievable. But to make them happen, they have to move to the wings. They must create space.
The "culture war" of politics is a melee. It is a mess. A traffic jam for creative accomplishment. There simply is not room to accomplish anything. Any movement of the mass of writhing bodies and flailing limbs will be made by forces beyond your control. And it won't look pretty.
Soccer is a beautiful sport. The stamina, skill, grace, and power of the players, and the team when working together, is inspiring and energizing. But soccer would not exist if there were not spaces created for it. Expansive field-complexes, with goals, lights, manicured lawns and maintained lines. Institutions managing the teams and games, clubs teaching young people the skills, logistical operations providing uniforms, balls, shin-guards, shoes. The entire culture of soccer would not exist if the space for it had not been carefully constructed and set apart.
This creation was not done through cultural conflict or through politics. It was created through participation, passion, self-development and sacrifice. In the zero-sum division of our limited time and energy, the creation of soccer came at the expense of the scrum. It was made possible, in other words, through the pursuit and utilization of uncontrolled space.
It is natural to want to get in the fight, to generate propaganda and become an activist for some political cause or another. Humans are, after all, political animals. But at the end of the day, no creation comes of this. There is no legacy, no lasting passionate culture that will live on. The terms and aims of politics were set before you entered the melee, and they won't change. There is no space for that.
Living a good life is an act of creation. Yes, there are people who will try to stop you. But the path to outmaneuvering those defenders isn't to get bogged down in some immature mosh-pit of shin-kickers. The path to victory in the creation of your own life lies in moving to the outside. Create space, physically and culturally, beyond the reach or attention of the spiritual politicians.
To succeed in living, make space.
This is the path of the Cascade Legion -- to create a cultural space dedicated to strength, order, and discipline. Perhaps one day, this can take physical dimension as well, a place set aside for the honing and perfect of these attributes. Like a well-lit stadium.
But for now, it is enough that this space exists spiritually. A spiritual space in which we can dedicate time and attention exclusively to the cultivation of these qualities... like a young soccer player putting aside grades and girls for a few minutes to go juggle a ball, in the hopes that one day, something truly magnificent might emerge.
Don't get caught in the scrum. Create space, and create yourself.
- VOLENS PUGNARE -