Home and Away

Home and Away

One Writer's Inspiring Experience at the Homeless World Cup

eBook - 2011
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Recounts the 2008 Homeless World Cup, in which homeless persons from around the world compete in a soccer tournament, and relates the Canadian team players' disappointments, joys, and triumphs.
Publisher: New York : Skyhorse Pub., 2011.
Edition: 1st Skyhorse ed.
ISBN: 9781616083069
1616083069
Characteristics: 1 online resource.

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floy
Sep 15, 2011

The author's enthusiasm for the ability of sports to facilitate a better self-image for homeless people is warranted. His account of the Homeless Soccer World Cup meet in Australia shows that sports gives the homeless participants something to distract them from the their difficult and dismal daily lives. It allows them to develop friendships among team members and even with competitors from other countries. .And perhaps it even makes them healthier. For the first time in a long time, they’re playing a game, using their bodies, and identifying themselves as something other than homeless failures.

The author’s heart is in the right place and it's obvious that he cares about the people and the game but, in truth, the book felt to me more like a long magazine article than a book. The descriptions of what brought particular individuals into their homelessness were rarely more than a paragraph or two and I yearned for a deeper exploration of those issues. He mentions the irony of homeless people being cheered for their soccer exploits at the World Cup when at home, homeless people are scorned and judged and never touched. But the author doesn't talk about the most obvious irony: these people are homeless and yet thousands of dollars are spent on transporting them from their native lands to some location in the world for the world cup competition. There they stay in hotels and eat restaurant food; for awhile their soccer uniforms mask their homelessness. The author never tells us how much that all costs but I was bothered by this thought : wouldn't the participants rather have the money? I'm sure it would be enough for each of them to get a room in the towns they came from for at least a few months so they could get off the street. I'm just not sure that giving a few homeless people a trip to Australia is going to change their lives. Including sports in the services offered to homeless people is a great idea but providing them housing is more important than a one week vacation.

Surely they must suffer culture shock when they leave Australia and return home to live once again on the mean streets of Canada, the U.S., Denmark, Russia, Cambodia, Malawi and the other participating nations in the Homeless World Cup.

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