Fair Play with Fair Feet

<Weeding before the match>
<Weeding before the match>

One of the things that my mom believes can easily cross national borders is sport. When my mom worked for a rural development project in Bangladesh in 2006, she enjoyed football with her Bangladeshi and Japanese colleagues.

Let me show you “community football” in a village in Bangladesh. Before a football match starts, the ground is weeded. When players arrive at the ground, they begin to weed in order to make the ground playable.

<Opening Ceremony>
<Opening Ceremony>

This is the opening ceremony of the match. Look at their feet! They do NOT wear shoes. Can you guess why not?

In Bangladesh, when children play football, they don’t wear shoes. It is because they want to ensure equality among the children. In Bangladesh, there are families (parents) who cannot afford to buy shoes for their children. If some children play football wearing shoes and others don’t, it would be unfair. So, in Bangladesh, there is a “rule” that everybody has to play football in bare feet. Look at these photos! My mom also enjoyed playing football without shoes.

<My mom is dribbling without shoes.>
<My mom is running in her bare feet.>

In rural Bangladesh, there are no amusement facilities, such as movie theaters, game centers, and shopping malls. But there is “community football,” which villagers can enjoy. Without shoes, anybody can enjoy playing football. How wonderful it is that “community football” kicks away economic disparities!

<During halftime, children play football.>
<Villagers are the “supporters” of both teams.>