“I am in love with the whole world.”—Maurice Sendak
In Europe, soccer (they call it football) is huge. Really big. The best players make $50 million per year.
Ostersunds FK, a football club in remote northern Sweden, in a town just 240 miles from the Arctic Circle knew their only hope of competing in the big leagues was Eljest. It’s a Swedish term that means “be different.”
Their coach, Graham Potter, a Brit who’d never really led a team before, noticed that all the teams trained the same, organized the same, played the same. They were mostly owned by old white dudes.
What if he mixed it up? What if, in addition to practices, he started a Culture Academy where his players were encouraged to try something new, to step out of their comfort zones? What if he got the whole town involved?
So, in 2010, his first year as coach of this team that was lucky to get 600 fans to a game, required his players to perform Swan Lake. For the community. The next year, they wrote a book. They went on to paint, to stage a rock concert, to mentor a team of refugees in Darfur.
And a funny thing happened. This little team of soccer rejects went from 4th tier soccer when the “be weird experiment” began in 2010 to playing in 1st tier soccer.
In 2017, they won the Swedish Cup. They’ve gone on to play in the Europa League and have racked up wins against such powerhouses as Berlin and Galatasaray SK, a legendary Turkish team that was so impressed with their grit that they gave them a standing ovation.
As their manager said, “We win every game, even if the score shows otherwise, because we learn something new every time.”
So today, as we ponder ACIM Lesson 56, think of Ostersunds FK who accomplished the impossible by changing their mindset, being brave, opening up to a whole new weird way of being.
Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her new book, Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side.
real life stories like this often inspire me. all the soccer clubs we currently label as “great clubs”, started from somewhere, usually from nothing; soccer clubs like real madrid fc were nothing to write home about in the mid 20th century: it had no history then; after approximately 60 years, they are now the greatest soccer club: fifa’s football club of the 20th century. Ostersunds FK can become the greatest soccer club in the world if they continue radiating their unique bravery.
I just want you to know how much I look forward to your posts each day….they’re little bits of good information and inspiration. Thank you for continuing to send these out! Yours, Melissa Grattan
I love this!! I’m going to choose a new be weird project for March!! Putting it in my bullet journal!!
Oh I do love the title of today’s post. Be weird. Have fun. Start now. Fabulous!! And I love the quote from Maurice Sendak too. And the rest of the post……and you Pam! Thankyou so much for these wonderful, inspirational messages each day. Hugs to you across the world 😘🦋💖⭐️
Yeah! Have fun! I heard a line in a Hallmark channel movie today … ” Are you humbly grateful or grumbly hateful?”
This is just amazing! Love, love, love this story. Of course, you had me with the Sendak quote. Gonna take off some today and look for the Wild Things 🙂
This is utterly fantastic. My son is a big soccer fan (we live in the US, but he follows the teams in Europe, South America, etc), and he mentioned something to me about this a while back. I’ll have to revisit this conversation with him!
This is exactly what I needed to read today!
Greetings Pam, I just love the words spilled out for us. You are the Hermes of ACIM andbringing God’s joy and presence into our daily life. The laughing, wild, irreverenttrickster of divine insight, who finds an ever mercurial way the let what shinesslip through…thank you for your daily Quicksilver Messenger Service. With Gratitude, Mark Lewis Whitman