Honduras: 14 Massacred On Football Field

At some point we all have to sit back and realize that there is indeed life beyond the football pitch. It is often hard to imagine what life would be without Saturday action in the European leagues, but sometimes, things happens to make us realize that it is just a game and our attention is needed elsewhere.

It was a horrific sight on last Saturday in northern Honduras, as gunmen shot from point-blank range at a group of people, who were known to gather there to play football. Ten were killed at the scene and four died as they were being taken to the hospital. The shooting appears to be part of a battle for gang territory in the northern city of San Pedro Sula. Mass shootings are not uncommon in Honduras and street gangs are often blamed for rampant violent crime, extortion and drug cartel killings.

If such an event took place in North America or Western Europe it would have been making hedlines for days or weeks. Unfortunately, it's been a week and some didn't even realize or notice the tragedy. Fourteen lives were taken while playing the game that they loved, the game that we all love. Struck down in broad daylight by men who approached the field in two vehicles with large guns.

This area of Honduras has seen many drug trafficking related crimes in recent years, as the region is well known for its cocaine refining capabilities. There was a similar slaying, taking seventeen lives, in September and links to Mexican drug cartels were established at that time. It is possible that this was the case in this situation once again.

A large group of people were preparing for a football game in the city of San Pedro Sula, a major textile producing city 100 miles north of the capital Tegucigalpa, when the gunmen approached the field and opened fire and killed fourteen innocent people. We often take freedom that we have for granted. Few of us fear for our lives when we decide to go play football game with some friends. It is difficult to imagine living in such a situation, but it is a reality for many.

Retired Honduran striker Wilmer Velasquez, who scored 35 goals for the national team between 1996 and 2007, was born in San Pedro Sula. He is also the all-time leading scorer in the Honduran National Football League with 196. After Honduras played in the World Cup this summer for the first time since 1982, hopes were high for the national program. But this violence could derail the team as the violence continues to spread across the country.

The next time that you go for a footy session with your friends, be thankful that you are able to do so in a safe environment. Remember that it is just a game, and take a moment to think about those who are not as lucky as some of us.

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