Article in brief: Khalifa AlHajeri writes about Zanertti who recently celebrated his 40th birthday, he continues to be successful, with grace only matched by other great role models.
The existence of a role model in our lives is one of the reference pillars of our identity creation. Our association to other personalities is a birthright by default. As children, we grow up and we copy our parents, pretending to be them by speaking like them and wearing their clothes and so on. It’s in our behavioral genome to compare and contrast with others and that is a habit that remains with us for the rest of our life.
When thinking of a role model, in the world of sports there are a few. In football, some role models can be debated across their fans, but a certain individual is unanimously always chosen by anyone who has an interest in the world of sports, this accolade belongs to Javier Zanetti.
Il Trattore, as he is fondly called by his teammates because of his style of running, which is similar to the way a tractor plows a field, recently turned 40 and still has not retired from professionally participating in sports. While many professional athletes have a short-lived career that usually ends at their mid-thirties, Zanetti, thanks to his supreme physique, is still an integral part of the sport and is sometimes mistaken for a youth in his 20s. Maintaining this level of physical capability requires a form of dedication that can only develop in a person that suffered adversity. Growing up, Zanetti himself was under the spell of Maradona and dreamt of becoming a footballer like him one day.
So passionate towards his pursuit of being a footballer, Zanetti started juggling daily football practice with other commitments such as working to generate an income to support his family. Despite his commitment, at the age of 15, he tasted the first dose of adversity when he was told that he was too skinny, too weak and too small to ‘make it’ in football. Reasonably bothered, this did not deter Zanetti from his objective and instead, it became the first building block of his ability to deal with adversity. The trials and hardships that he grew in became his source of energy and this is a lesson to us to always track back to our roots and our foundation in the essence of keeping our motivation and commitment refreshed.
Respected unanimously by players, managers and fans even from opposing teams, Zanetti always remains humble and cool headed. Despite the success and the almost rock star status he has in the heart of fans, he is barely ever caught receiving praise comfortably, almost always deflecting it to the collective and thanking his own team mates. Up to this date, Javier Zanetti has made over 1000 performances as a professional footballer but that feat was not enough. With the help of his wife Paula, he also created the PUPI Foundation which aims to help children, who are left impoverished by the country’s economic situation, by giving them educational opportunities, as well as taking care of their nutritional requirements. This is a clear example of his role as a public figure not forgetting where he came from.
The lessons that could be picked up from Javier Zanetti are many. As individuals, we should always remember our humble beginnings and even if we were raised up in one, learn how to be modest about success. Remembering the journey we took part in as a source of pride and source of motivation. This will have a direct impact on our dedication and commitment. This is generic and not specific to only footballers or sportsmen. As a role model, Zanetti inspires many, especially in the notion that your attitude is a characteristic you carry with you all at times, on or off the pitch, in front or away from people’s eye.
Khalifa was born and raised in the UAE, with a 4 and bit years university stint in the Canadian lands, before coming back home to work for one of the investment arms of the Abu Dhabi government. Inspired to be the Ray Romano of the magazine, only as a sports journalist that is.
Khalifa believes the world of sports never gets the credit it deserves for its impact on this world. For some, its mere entertainment, but for some its soul therapy and sometimes, survival. In this sports universe, deep in its pockets, he was able to find a lot of pleasure reading for sports journalists like Phil Ball, Gabriel Marcotti, among many others. Considering some of his favorite literature comes from sports writers, he will use this column titled “Tifosi”, which stands for “fan” in Italian, to share this passion with others by discussing sport events that can relate to both fanatics and non fanatics.
Latest posts by Khalifa Al Hajeri (see all)
- A Sports Fan In A Sport City - March 1, 2015
- Moving Towards Individualistic Sports - February 1, 2014
- The Impact of Hosting Major International Sports Events - January 1, 2014