A FOOTBALL MATCH AND A FOUND MOTIVATION

We waited behind bars. The night was late but the energy unrelenting.

Our glimmer of hope? A grey coach bus.

He stood alongside the bus, different from the rest. He looked happy to be there, eager to help, but uncertain as to what his reaction should be toward this energized jailed crowd.

What is your name? I yell

I’m not important.

I know, but what is your name?

Christian.

Followed by that uncertain pause of what was to come next.

His eyes continued to shift from person to person without focusing on anyone in particular.

How did you get this job? I prod.

A furtive glance towards my direction, while clutching two blue and white stripped jerseys.

I got lucky.

How did you get lucky was going to be my next question, but his attention was diverted.

There was an uproar.

One of the famed ones had arrived to the crowd’s delight.

Several brave ones reached over the barricades, t-shirts in hand, hoping for a stamped memorabilia.

Others stripped off their jerseys impetuously, revealing more skin than admiration for the football stars.

More screams, more cheers, more handshakes.

I thought about the evening’s match. It had ended goalless.

I screamed, cheered, and even dropped some occasional Igbo phrases: Puo n’uzo, Kpacharanwaya oh, directed at both the opposition and the goalkeeper.

The truth was I didn’t understand the rules of the game, but I was there.

I wasn’t there for an autograph, maybe a picture. Or a closeup of Victor Moses.

Moses. I had read about him. There was a tinge of sadness to the story behind this player. I wanted to create a different version.

In exchange for Moses, I had Christian. I could write a profile on him.

A young man with his fair share of good looks. A woman’s man if he was signed up with one of the European leagues. Or maybe that was the dream until the injury. The injury that almost shattered his dreams until he got a big break. A former teammate, recruited young from a camp, now a star, willing to help Christian whose love for the sport never died. Thus, began Christian’s journey of travelling around the world with the no.11 team in the world, ensuring that their travel and sleeping accommodations went smoothly, and fulfilling fans’ desires of getting an autograph from Captain Karagounis.

Yet, he said he was “unimportant”.

It is my goal to showcase seemingly unimportant stories and events in people’s lives.

I recall proposing a new column for my school’s newspaper. Each subsequent issue was to feature an interview with an individual selected from a group of “very important people”. My pitch: Show the public that they are like us. People with raw emotions and embarrassing stories.

Who loved jump rope as a kid?

Which color do they pick out while eating Mike and Ikes?

Do they eat vegan in public and binge on a Pizza Hut takeout?

I know, these questions may appear unimportant, but they tell a different version of an otherwise standard story.

Storytelling here is about to take a new form. Real stories would be conscientiously woven into fiction and non-fiction and you as the reader can pick out life’s lessons.

Life Lesson No 1: Never say you are unimportant. You can inspire a blog post 🙂

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