Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

When I was 11

MAUDE VUILLEUMIER Visual Artist, Switzerland

When I was 11 we had the chance to participate in our local soccer tournament, our class formed a boys team and a girls team. We painted our shirts in our textile class. We named our selves FC Wirbelsturm (the tornados). We trained the whole year during recess. We had a soccer field in the school yard. Day after day we were playing soccer with the boys. But they were not really happy about this, because they thought we wouldn’t play well enough and they also couldn’t understand why we wanted to participate in the tournament and make fools out of ourselves.
hen the big day of the tournament came. The boys did not survive the first qualifying round. We, the girls, won the first and also the second round and found ourselves suddenly in the quarter final. In that game someone rammed her knee into my nose, but I was tough and joined the team after short break again. Then the semifinal came. And in the end we were even in the finals. Our adversary was the team that we have beaten in the first game. We were the first team that had beaten this team at all. No-one from our team had ever trained in a soccer club. That made them very angry. Especially their capitain. Her father was a coach of a soccer team and one of the organizers of the soccer tournament. In every possible situation she tried to foul us, but this didn’t impress us much. And we really won the tournament. The award was cancelled – they said because of bad weather, but probably more so because the wrong team had won. Anyway, afterwards we had the boys’ respect and the question,if we were welcome to play soccer with them was never an issue anymore.