This is not my only website. Over the years I’ve dabbled with other sites which I’ve used to discuss various issues. Holland’s Heroes is primarily used for discussions regarding the book I wrote about my parents experiences during Nazi occupation and articles I’ve written regarding Israel, the Jewish people, social injustices and all matters political. So when I sat down to write this, since it was going to be a short tribute to a soccer player, I originally intended to post it on my other site, The Daily Column. But then I realized that I was about to write about a Dutch hero. Not a hero made famous for saving lives, changing political discourse or impacting social development, but a hero known for how he lived and played football, aka soccer. All that being true, the man I speak of is truly one of Holland’s heroes, and his name is Johan Cruyff.
I am the son of parents who were born and raised in the Netherlands. I take a lot of pride in my Dutch background. My first memory of anything soccer, albeit a very faint one, was the Netherlands losing the World Cup final to Germany in 1974. This game, a fuzzy memory at best, was won by Germany on what the Dutch considered to be a questionable penalty kick. Looking back, although the Dutch squad would have loved to have won the World Cup, something they are yet to do- many including myself refer to them as the best team to never win the World Cup- the most significant memory for me, particularly in retrospect, was the brilliance and global dominance of their on the field leader John Cruyff.
Johan Cruyff died to day at the age of 68. Although the greatest heroes the world has to offer are those who are willing to sacrifice their lives or put themselves in danger to protect others, it can’t be denied that there are many different types and levels of heroe. The true sports hero, someone who inspires a nation, brings joy to his fans, and encourages thousands upon thousands of people to strive for greatness, is a different type of hero, but a hero nonetheless. For the Dutch people and all the fans of not only Dutch soccer but soccer worldwide, Johan Kruyf was that type of hero. Here’s saying thank you to him and hoping he rests in peace.
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