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It's cool to be a weirdo

I would be mobbed if I was a kid in the modern world. I donít have the newest pair of trainers. I donít like just hanging around or playing Playstation. I prefer Starbucks to going clubbing. I enjoy disciplined life of sports. So I would just not be a cool kid.

Couple of weeks ago I woke up feeling achy. The mirror witnessed that I had another wrinkle, plus overall I looked pretty worn out. I also realised I had started drinking tea! Oh my God, Iíve become old, I panicked. I know denial is not a river in Egypt but I just couldnít accept my youth being vanished that easily. I decided to give it another go so I put a cap and jeans on, started to talk and observe kids to get my youth back.

I soon realised that my jeans were from the last millennium and my views from the previous one. I felt like a right dinosaur because I didnít understand kidís world anymore. Not just my dress sense was compared to wearing bin bags but also my vocabulary was a too late edition of English. I also learned it wasnít cool anymore to train extra after training. That is labelled busy and it is not acceptable to be busy. It is definitely not cool to play in the parks anymore. Every decent daddy has bought their kid a Playstation so dogs should be the only runners in the green areas where kids used to play games. I noticed kid might be cool if he got away with disobeying a teacher or a trainer. Knowing rap lyrics, picture messaging or somehow managing to cheat someone else to do your jobs is cool. At this point I already had to hold my hands up, I didnít have what it takes to fit in to this world. I thought I still had a child in me, but it turned out to be a wrong child. I just donít get it why it is so important to be and look cool. Or how do become cool? If anyone I should know enough about coolness, Iím from a freezing country Finland after all.

When my generation studied in school or tried to break into first team football we knew our place. It was a quiet worker in the corner. Everyone who tried to be something else was put back there by seniors. There was discipline and respect for the system. You had to earn it. Small steps forward were quickly taken away from you if you showed not to be worth it. You had to show respect to get respect. The attitude has changed from those days. In schools, at homes, every street corner, in sports, you see it everywhere. There are very few institutions anymore that teach kids discipline, manners and work ethic. We have turned big parts of our society to this swearing, lack of respect punch of burger munchers. And the blame is on all of us because we tolerate this.

There are many misleading examples for kids Ė professional stars and media for example. Young players see professional players coming to training and games with flash cars and Armani suits. Unfortunately they donít see and realise the many years of hard work that has led these players to get there. So some promising kids start to think the idea and passion is not the game anymore but to live that life style. The modern emphasis on tabloid papers and gossip magazines donít help. Our world is filled with big and often false headlines and pictures about night-outs, glamorous life style and all the superficial. We have led to believe this is the truth and the aim. We donít see a story of how someone has worked hard for his success. We donít see a story of someone being a good ambassador for sports. It is not selling and it is not cool. So now already kids come to training with their Louis Vuitton wash bags because they think that is the world of football. May I introduce you, another Big time Charlie is in danger to be born! That is normally the final destination of coolness.

Everyone, especially kids seek for acceptance. Most of the kids know right from wrong and have lot of good in them. The picture gets often dizzy in the groups. The group pressure can be effective. Why are you training extra? Why arenít you going out with us tonight? It is hard to say no. The group often tries to make it harder because deep down most people are scared of the ones who dare to do things differently. There comes a time when other people will try to break you, just to feel better about their own small lives. I think the ones who have made it Ė in football and in life Ė were the ones who said no. They sacrificed coolness and being accepted by standing behind their own work and dreams. They were not the coolest kids, they were probably often considered weirdoes. Being different requires strong personality, even bit persistent attitude of not being cool. Sometimes it is good to be this weirdo.

Remember the coolest kid from your school. I bet he didnít turn out to be that cool adult. You have probably not even heard of him since. You got to look to quiet corners and empty parks to find the possible success stories. More weirdoes than cool kids have turned out to be making a difference. So donít cool yourself, be a weirdo!


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