There was a time when the funniest stories always started with “a Portuguese, a Frenchman and an Englishman walk into a bar”.
A Portuguese, a Frenchman and an Englishman walk into a bar and order a beer. Everyone has a fly inside. The Frenchman calls the waiter and asks for another beer. The Englishman takes out the fly and drinks. The Portuguese takes the fly, squeezes its neck and shouts: Spit it out now. Spit!
Yes, it’s true, times have changed and Portuguese, French and English don’t entertain us like they used to. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t still plenty of good stories when three people meet. In a bar or at a European Futsal Championship.
Inês Fernandes, Inês Matos and Carla Vanessa are worth looking at in this regard.
The three are currently in Debrecen, Hungary, as part of the women’s indoor team looking for an unprecedented European title. In the last two appearances they have always finished second, after being beaten by Spain in the final. Last year, in fact, they only lost the final on penalties and that’s why the three dream of going further now.
Futsal lives in them like a passion and that’s why they play thirty for a line to keep playing. None of them are professionals, like the vast majority of the team, in fact, so it takes a lot of physical, mental and family gymnastics to fuel this great love.
That’s why when they take the field this Friday, starting at 3 p.m. People who teach us every day what it’s like to be liked in the gym.
Inês Fernandes, 33, Benfica, doctor
The Benfica captain is one of the players who share the gym with medicine. The intensive care physician at Hospital Santa Maria, in Lisbon, shares a dressing room with an ophthalmologist (Cátia Morgado) and a radiologist (Pisko), for example.
“Is it worth all the sacrifices to reconcile medicine and hall? This thought always crosses your mind, especially at the end of the year. Is it worth it for me to keep this physical, mental and time investment? But the truth is that physically there is a ceiling and after a certain age we no longer have the same income,” he confesses.
“I will be able to be a doctor for another 40 years, but futsal is ending. That’s why now the priority is to be an athlete. I want to win this thing that I have wanted for a long time: the European Championship.”
In order to do so, Ines Fernandez asked for a leave of absence and left medicine in December. The employment contract expired and he chose not to renew it in order to fully focus on the preparation for the European Championship. From April onwards, he focuses on medicine and being a doctor.
“You have to have a lot of discipline, but above all it’s very important to recover physically and mentally. I have to fragment my time: the hospital hours must be fully devoted to the hospital, focusing only on it, and the hall moments must be spent thinking about the hall hall. The important thing is to have income in both places,” he explains.
“Medicine is demanding, we have a lot of ward life, with shifts, with very early hours. But getting in too early or too late ends up giving me time all day. I have to take advantage of the rest, so that I don’t get tired in the gym or in the hospital.”
Inês Fernandes therefore warns of the need to be very strict in one’s life, as there is no room for less mental availability in the hospital: the responsibility of work does not allow it. The alternative is to plan your time well and respect the different periods.
“Shift work is another difficulty because it forces me to ask my colleagues for changes, which is sometimes annoying. But this has never been a problem, I am very lucky with the colleagues I have met and they have always made it easy. In the summer and during school hours, I have to be the one to catch up to compensate for the facilities that are given to me at other times of the year.”
Inês Matos, 23, Benfica, lawyer
Inês Matos will play in the first European futsal event, but on the other hand, she is the only one who knows what it means to win a major international event: the Benfica athlete was part of the team that last year won the World University Cup in women’s futsal.
In the meantime, he finished his course and is currently interning at CA Advogados. Like the vast majority of her colleagues, she is a liberal professional, which gives her certain privileges.
“From the moment I heard about the call of the National Team for the European Championship, I decided that I will focus only on indoor sports. I spoke to my patron, he was very understanding and managed to find someone to replace me,” says the young woman.
“I’ve been used to being strict and disciplined since I was young, also because I always played futsal while studying. That’s why I manage to combine both things and get income from both sides.”
In fact, while she was studying, and apart from futsal and the ever-demanding Law course, Inês Matos still found time to be the treasurer of the European Union of Law Students.
With the end of the course and the beginning of work in the office, Inês Matos realized that she had to organize her time very well in order to be everywhere.
“Most of a lawyer’s work is done in the back office. The hearings take some time, the preparation of procedural documents is what takes me many hours, many days, and this work I can also do a lot at home, outside of office hours.”
While preparing for her European Women’s Championship debut, Inês Matos remembers that there are only three athletes in the national team who are fully professional (goalkeeper Ana Catarina, winger Janice Silva and universal Fifó, all from Benfica), hoping that this situation will change in a short period of time.
“Soccer football is entering the basket of women’s football. It will take some time for it to get the momentum that women’s football has had, but my wish is that all future generations of athletes can be indoor professionals and not have to be split in two.”
Carla Vanessa, 32, Nun’Álvares, shop assistant
Carla Vanessa was a seamstress for many years in a textile company. The 32-year-old athlete did not like to spend a lot of time sitting. I wanted something more dynamic, more energetic. That’s why he asked the bosses to switch roles as soon as possible.
The answer has now arrived and Carla Vanessa left the sewing machine to become a warehouse manager: basically she is an employee who takes orders, organizes raw materials and handles the logistics inside the warehouse for textile parts for cars.
Except the hours haven’t changed.
“Every day I get up at five in the morning, go to the warehouse and leave at 2 in the afternoon. Then I take the opportunity to rest, go to the gym and train in the evening. I usually get home around midnight or midnight, so the next day I wake up again at five,” he says.
“I asked to change companies so that my performance as an athlete would be better. Now I’m more active, I demand more from my physique, but I’m stable, I’m happy, I’m calm.”
Carla Vanessa lives and works in Famalicão, but plays in Fafe, the home of Nun’Álvares. A distance of almost 50 kilometers and half an hour, which the player has been covering twice a day for almost two years. They don’t scare her anymore.
“It’s not very easy and it turns out to be a big sacrifice that I have to make to keep playing. I do this every day and some days are harder. Also because I work very early and train at night, I have to adapt and manage my free time better. That’s why I always take the opportunity to rest in the afternoon, after I leave the company.”
Carla Vanessa was once a professional gymnast when she got a proposal from Italy, but says things didn’t work out. The salary didn’t make up for being away from home, from the people I loved the most, and besides, it wasn’t always enough: sometimes they paid, sometimes they didn’t.
That’s why she preferred to return to Portugal and the whirlwind that is her life, always running from one place to another, but with a clear head. He started acting at the age of ten and still has no plans to stop. Futsal is what makes her happy and now comes the best part: the European Championship.
How can you not root for these women?