Benny Sip


Football Is The Problem

For most of us, football is getting in the way of football. Finding answers to 21st century football development problems lies in looking outside of the beautiful game.

Look outside the context of football and most of the answers will be staring straight at you. 

Let me explain. 

You see, for most of us, football is too personal. We are too attached to "our" game: our playing careers, the titles we won once, the players we worked with, how things were done in our day. The footballer's ego. It is what it is. Like damaged old records, most of us are too en - grooved in the commotion of our own stories to hear anything clearly, let alone the music.

It's called all sorts of things. Confirmation bias. Subjectivity. Prejudice. Look outside of football and the answers become glaringly clear.

We are resistant to Change because we think it’s insulting. Those that consider change as an opportunity, as a moment of innovation, as inspiring and as an opportunity to nurture our young are going to take this, they are going to run with it.
— Todd Beane

There are good answers out there. However, the attachment to "our" football is keeping trainers entrapped in the noise, muffling the music, and inhibiting our players from dancing. Looking outside the white lines may change that.

There is a music teacher in Porirua, New Zealand that is the absolute best. Why? Because she is doing exactly that, teaching music.

Visit one of her classrooms and you will see that... 

There is very little "teaching" going on, at least in the "traditional"sense. 

The classroom setting appears absolutely chaotic, as it should.

Actual learning is messy. This is a fact. 

The children are smiling and very happy to be there. 

There are instruments for them to play. 

There are no lectures, just the occasional "Hey! Get to your arse back to work."

There is no equivalent of a "walk - thru" training session for these young violinists.

They have come to this classroom to play together. 

They keep on coming back.

There are no parents. 

There is a lot of noise, at first. 

Slowly but surely, the music begins to play.

This teacher has a very simple and practical approach. There is no theory. There is very little explanation. And the children absolutely adore her.

Why? Because they can see that she cares.

How? Perhaps it is the station wagon chock-full of instruments that tells them. It might be the snacks that she brings (they are yummy!) Or maybe, just maybe, it is that she keeps on showing up, every single day.

This teacher is producing some of the best musicians in New Zealand, by the way. She is getting results. Developing talent. Producing prodigies. Educating kiddos. Whatever you want to call it. Can you believe it? Straight outta' Porirua. The learning environment she has created works. It's beautiful too.

The NZ music authorities don't hold the same opinion though. They say some pretty crappy shit. Things like, "kids in Porirua can't learn Bach, Beethoven or Berg." Or, "classical music holds no place in low- decile school systems, it's impossible to teach anyhow." You know biased, subjective, and prejudiced crap like that. NOISE. 

I'm optimistic for this teacher though. Optimistic that slowly but surely, with time and patience on her side, the music will rise above the noise. I will be listening. As for the dancing... 

Ben Sippola