I was able to be present when floorball was introduced in Patos. What a wonderful experience!
I knew that we would have 14 sticks, a few balls, two goalposts and protective gear,
and Daniel, a Swiss guy with a passion for floorball, who wanted to make the sport accessible to our kids. The huge number of kids and young people, girls and boys, who had signed up on the list was enough to give me a sleepless night. I thought back to the time, more than five years before, when I was in Brazil for the first time as a volunteer, and wanted to contribute to a somewhat more peaceful atmosphere with an educational program. If there was a new sport, such as basketball, to try out, chaos ensued. Everyone wanted to be the first, hardly anyone listened to how the game was played. Diametrically opposite to Swiss youngsters I thought at the time. When the game then started there was a lot of rough play.
However, even the kids‘daily football match, played under the supervision of the grown-ups who reminded them repeatedly and gently about fair play, eventually over the years helped them to develop a better attitude to playing, and a respectful attitude, outside the football field too. And it was lovely to see that not just football, but also floorball worked really well – after just a short introduction.
To my surprise, after a short time the youngsters possessed such a skill with the sticks that
they were able to have an exciting, but fair, match. Everyone is equal in front of the ball – this behaviour is part of the story of our success. And the fact that children, even when they come from the poorest backgrounds, and when their behaviour can only let us guess at how neglected they are, can play peacefully together, is the result of these long years of work by Operation Rescue Brazil. It demonstrates to us that these efforts really do leave behind results.