Friday, March 9, 2007



It’s what makes the world go round, or so people say.
I’m getting a firsthand lesson in the power of money on the road to South Africa 2010.

I’m working two jobs, day & night, saving up for the trip, trying to get by.
This isn’t a lament or a call for pity, but the truth.

It’s a powerful lesson in sacrifice. It says, ‘This goal isn’t easy. This is important. This will humble you.’
And I listen and look at my wallet and lo & behold? I am humbled.
I wake up in the morning after a long day of work and my body aches and what do you know? I am humbled!

No one said this would be easy. It shouldn’t be. If it were going to be easy, I’d just buy a ticket in late 2009, fly out to Johannesburg, support whatever country I felt like and leave it at that.
But this means more. This is something that feels real, that sometimes seems insurmountable, yet I know I’ll reach … by hook or by crook.

I look to my right and the clock ticks down, numbers forever getting smaller and my mind races. ‘How can I do this? What can I do to get further along to my goal? I only have 29,254 hours left! What do I do?’

My brain searches for answers, here and there, darting like a bunny rabbit hopping through the bush, this way and that.
The solutions will come. Patience is a virtue. Keep searching for solutions and they will come.

I pick up a copy of ‘Four Four Two’, the fine English soccer magazine and read about the most expensive transfer in football history, Zinedine Zidane sold to Real Madrid from Juventus of Italy for 45.62 million British pounds in 2001. That’s $88 million dollars.

Let me repeat that for you: $88 million dollars.

Think about what that money could do.

It could fund tons of schools around Africa for needy children.
It could educate millions of people about the dangers of AIDS.
It could go into funding research to defeat some of the deadly diseases around the world.

You get my drift.

This isn’t to say Zidane is a bad person, Real Madrid are evil people (well …) or the system is flawed. If anything, that’s what the market demanded and that’s what was paid.
Far be it from me to contest that. I’ve enjoyed watching Zidane’s magic on the pitch, enjoyed his regal passes and deft touch and gotten goosebumps watching him play.

I’m not complaining. I’m just wondering.

I’m thinking of people like Ethan Zohn, who used his million dollar winnings on the popular TV show ‘Survivor’ to start a foundation to educate youths on the dangers of AIDS, Grassroots Soccer.

I’m thinking of my friend Enouce in Kenya, who’s trying to better kid’s lives through education and football, trying to give them a chance to get out of destitute situations and make better for themselves and their families.

I’m thinking of playground warriors, who don’t get a cent for playing, but run around for the sheer joy of it, the power of the game bursting from their hearts.
They wear names on their backs, names like Beckham, Ronaldo and Maradona, men who’ve made lots of money playing the game.
In that instant on the playground, money doesn’t matter. It’s for ‘the love of the game’.

But the money men like Zidane and Ronaldo made playing is justified in some way, because they made us smile, made us cry, made us feel something we couldn’t feel without them.

Now I’m just babbling. I’m so tired. I’ve romanticized football yet again. I’m a walking cliché sometimes. Football is the Beautiful Game, I’ll probably say next …

But isn’t that great?

1 comment:

Bancha said...

I'm hearing you on the first half of your post!

I'm in the same boat, but choose to spend my time and energy complaining about the situation, instead of just taking a 2nd job, like you. Respect.

I'm going to be writing a piece on the financial struggles of young adults. If you're interested in an interview, let me know.