Back to the Roots

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I was born in the beautiful Portuguese coastal town of Cascais where Surf and Bodyboard are among the most popular sport activities right after Football.

There in the local surfing community they have some kind of a ‘dialect’ where the word ‘roots’ means that something is relaxed, down-to-earth, has a positive vibe or literally means going back to the origin. For instance, you can easily say: ‘The concert yesterday was ‘roots’ or ‘Let’s do something tonight, something ‘roots’ or even ‘the surfing this morning was really ‘roots’.

Several years ago I read an interesting magazine article from a local Pro-bodyboarder in which he described (with some nostalgia) his beginnings when he was around 8 years old and took his first bodyboard to the sea while his family spent relaxing afternoons in the beach and started together with his cousins to challenge the Atlantic ocean. Back then every tiny new wave seemed enormous and was a passport for an explosion of naivety, joy, freedom, almost a dream come true.

During the article he established a term of comparison between his beginnings where bodyboarding was only a summer passion about the adrenaline and fun and his current situation of training discipline, pressure of competing in the highest level, the performance expectations from media and sponsors.

The text was an appeal for everyone that even when you get more serious into any sport it is crucial not to lose the inner passion that made you connect to it, in other words the ‘roots’…

There are a considerable amount of conversations and theories about how to detect and raise talent in an attempt to define a pattern that can distinguish a talented sportsman from an average one, nevertheless what I find interesting when looking to the talents that I have been in contact with is definitely their passion for the game, their inner competitiveness yet their childish effortless pleasure every moment they are in contact with a ball and a stick, the extra hours spent in their yards, playing with their neighbors, siblings or simply alone against any wall.

The ones that even when achieving the highest levels of their career are still passionately connected with their ‘roots’!   

Bernardo Fernandes

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