Monday, August 29, 2011

Homeless World Cup: Scotland Celebrate

Scotland are world champions.

In the words of the late Donald Dewar: "I like that."

In Paris yesterday Scotland's Homeless World Cup men's team beat Mexico to life the trophy.

A tight game finished 4-3, with a goal from Sean Lawrence and a William McLean hat-trick for Scotland.

A second Homeless World Cup trophy for Scotland following the win in Copenhagen four years ago.

Someone on twitter asked if us Scots shouldn't feel queasy about celebrating such a win.

We should feel queasy about the problems with homelessness that still pockmark modern Scotland.

But we should be happy to celebrate Scotland's win.

The Homeless World Cup lasts for only one week every year.

Yet the work it inspires lasts throughout the year in the 48 countries that took part.

Thousands of people are helped each year, lives given structure, confidence rebuilt.

The annual Homeless World Cup tournament provides focus and inspiration for that work.

It's maybe time we stopped looking for ever darker linings in every cloud.

A whopping majority of the players involved in projects across the world change their lives for the better.

Why shouldn't we celebrate that?

But this group of Scots went to Paris with very little. They come home as world champions.

The boost in their own lives and the inspiration they'll provide for others like them is almost immeasurable.

Why shouldn't we celebrate that?

The fight against homelessness goes on. The Homeless World Cup will continue as long as it is needed.

And yesterday in Paris the work it does, the change it inspires, was celebrated.

Scotland played a full part in that. It might not be recognised in the mainstream media here, it might still come up against cynnicism and lazy stereotypes.

But the Scotland team did something worth celebrating.

Something that's worth more than simply raising a trophy at the end of a football game.

> In their debut Women's Homeless World Cup, Scotland beat Malawi 4-2 to claim fifth place.

The tournament was won by Kenya, Mexico were once again the runners-up.

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