Despite news coverage that can tend to focus on real and uncomfortable issues like racism, corruption, and violence in soccer, sometimes, a light in the darkness shines through and the sport can become a heartwarming display of humanity and kindness. The camaraderie found in sports is unique, and that sense of community can be on display in the unlikeliest of places. For example, a Brazilian soccer match turned into a festival of “aww” this week, as a full crowd at the Estádio Nilton Santos serenaded Giulia, the visually impaired daughter of Botafogo striker Roger Rodrigues.
In a video published by Brazilian tv network Esporte Interativo, you can see kids lined up on the field with Roger embracing his daughter, before the entire crowd at the stadium can starts chanting and singing the young girl’s name: “Giulia, Giulia!” That turns into the even more rousing “Olê, olê, olê, olá…Giulia, Giulia!” chant. Giulia–who has been visually impaired since birth–saw her story make the rounds last weekend, thanks to a report by Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte.
The scene at the Nilton Santos is an inspiring demonstration of love, and both Roger and his daughter definitely felt it, coming together for a hug in the middle of the pitch. Giulia can be seen jumping into her father’s arms and holding him tight, while Roger sealed the deal with a kiss on the forehead and thank you wave to the crowd.
With all the turmoil and immaturity that sports can unfortunately bring at times, it’s moments like this that give hope for a better game. It’s moments like this that only soccer can provide.