Sure, he might have been a Nobel Prize-winning writer and philosopher, but Albert Camus almost didn't enter the arts at all. In fact, he nearly took to the pitch to become a soccer star!
Born in French Algeria in 1913, Camus grew up in poverty; his father died not long after he was born, and his mother worked hard as a housekeeper to support her family. So it's no surprise that young Albert found soccer - or football, as he might have thought of it in English - as an engaging outlet as a child. He played on his school team while a youngster in Algiers, but didn't stop there.
Albert Camus. Image via LibCom.
In fact, the future Existentialist wasn't a Stranger to continued success on the field. He went on to play for the junior team of Racing Universitaire d'Alger (RUA), a national soccer organization. Sadly, Camus's burgeoning sporting career was cut short at age eighteen, when he contracted tuberculosis and had to step down from his position as goalie due to his damaged lungs.
But Camus never forgot what it meant to be part of a team and the sportsmanship lessons he learned. He once penned an essay called "What I Owe to Football" and observed, "After many years during which I saw many things, what I know most surely about morality and the duty of man, I owe to sport and learned it in the RUA." It also taught him that, just as a ball never went where one aimed it, so, too, did life come with unexpected changes.
Feature image via Open Culture.