- American Sports
- Other Sports
- Euro 2012
You know how sometimes you’ve never met someone, yet you still really like them and admire them just because you’ve got a feeling that they’re nice and decent people? That’s the situation with me and the Bulgarian national team captain Stiliyan Petrov. I’ve never met the man, but I’ve seen him play and I’ve listened to or read lots of his interviews. And I respect him! I respect him as a player, I respect him as a man.
Anyway, today is Stan’s birthday- he’s 33 now. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal, probably, if we didn’t know that he’s still fighting with the leukimia he was diagnosed with a couple of months ago. True, because the shock of this announcement, everyone was talking about it and expressing their support…until at one point they just stopped. It’s better, I guess, because Stan and his family need privacy, they should be left alone while dealing with this problem. But that doesn’t mean that we’ve forgotten about it.
Petrov is one of the few players that are well-liked and respected even by fans of rival teams. I don’t want to divert the attention towards myself here, because this article is about Stan, but I’d just like to share with you a little something. I bought one of those “Support Stan” t-shirts a couple of months ago. And when I wear it, strange things happen to me. For example, this guy came to me once and said:”I’m a Birmingham City supporter, but I really respect Stan. I hope he recovers.” Or maybe I should tell you how once I was walking down the street, minding my own business, when two boys came to me and started chanting “Go Stan, go Stan!” Or how every single time I wore this shirt people would look at me and smile.
And no, they weren’t doing this because of me- they were doing it because of Stan. Because that’s what he’s like- you just can’t help loving him. Because he’s a great player player and leader on the pitch, and because he’s a decent man off it. A man who supports various charities, a family man who loves his wife and two kids, a man who doesn’t care about fancy cars and big houses, a man who, when inviting friends to his games, always pays for the tickets, although he can have them for free from the club. That’s who Stan is!
And no matter how terrible his disease is, there’s something positive about it as well. Because it showed me that people haven’t lost their ability to love and to care, even for a stranger. It showed me that it’s not all about money, sex or other material goods. There’s still lots of love in this world…we just need to show it more often.
Happy birthday, Captain! We’re waiting for you, we’re waiting to see you lead the Aston Villa players on the pitch at Villa Park, we’re waiting to see you lead the Bulgarian team at Vasil Levski National Stadium…Happy birthday, and all the best, my dear Captain.