At some point we all have to sit back and realize that there is indeed life beyond the pitch. It is often hard to imagine what life would be like without Saturday action in the European leagues, but every so often something happens that makes us realize that it is just a game and our attention is needed elsewhere.
It was a horrific sight on Saturday in northern Honduras, as gunmen opened fire at a soccer field and killed 14 people. While the motivation behind the slayings is not clear at this point, if such an event took place in North America or Western Europe, rest assured that it would be in all the headlines today. 14 lives were taken while playing the game that they loved, the game that we all love. Struck down in broad daylight by men who approached the field in two vehicles with large guns.
This area of Honduras has seen many drug trafficking related crimes in recent years, as the region is well known for its cocaine refining capabilities. There was a similar such slaying, taking 17 lives, in September and links to Mexican drug cartels were established at the time. It is possible that this was the case in this situation once again.
A large group of people were preparing for a soccer game in the city of San Pedro Sula, a major textile producing city 100 miles north of the capital Tegucigalpa, when the gunmen approached the field.
We often take the freedom that we have for granted. Few of us fear for our lives when we decide to go play some footy with some friends. It is difficult to imagine living in such a situation, but it is a reality for many.
Retired Honduran striker Wilmer Velasquez, who scored 35 goals for the national team between 1996 and 2007, was born in San Pedro Sula. He is also the all-time leading scorer in the Honduran National Football League with 196. After Honduras played in the World Cup this summer for the first time since 1982, hopes were high for the national program. But this violence could derail the team as the violence continues to spread across the country.
The next time that you go kick the ball around with your friends, be thankful that you are able to do so in a safe environment. Remember that it is just a game, and take a moment to think about those who are not as lucky.