Rooting For Brazil
Ever since my days at Starehe Institute in 2006, I have always been fascinated by FIFA World Cups which, as most people know, are staged after every four years in different countries of the world. I recall fondly of myself single-handedly creating a software program on that year's World Cup using the computer-programming skills I was acquiring at the institute.
My favourite team that year was Brazil which I fervently believed would lift the cup because of its then talented and experienced attacking combo of Ronaldo and Ronaldinho.
Well, the first FIFA World Cup that took place when I was conscious of myself was the 1994 one held in the United States. Even though my family owned a black and white television set that aired the matches, I didn't take an interest in the World Cup simply because I was too young to understand and enjoy soccer. It was one of my neighbour's children led by Ludovic Kahoro who made the most of our television in following the World Cup when they visited our home to watch the matches which were aired late at night.
Recently when Ludovic Kahoro, who is now a Catholic Catechist, came at home to check on my Mum who is recovering from a stroke, he remarked on those days when they visited us to watch the 1994 FIFA World Cup. And I think he believed me when I confirmed I could recall vividly of them visiting us to watch the World Cup.
The 1998 FIFA World Cup took place when I was old enough to recall things but I hadn't been influenced to love soccer. All I recall that year was how my primary school classmates idolized Ronaldo (no, not the one of Portugal).
A local chewing gum manufacturing company took advantage of the popularity of soccer by attaching small photos of soccer players on its chewing gums. That's how I got to learn how my classmates idolized Ronaldo, the then talented Brazil striker, because some of them offered to exchange several of those photos for one of Ronaldo; that's crazy, isn't it?
I also didn't take an interest in the 2002 FIFA World Cup which was held when I was a first-former at Starehe Boys' Centre because I was consumed with the desire to excel in academics. And with the strict school rules that required us first-formers to be asleep by 9.30pm, I doubt whether I would have watched the World Cup anyway.
The 2006 FIFA World Cup was the first one that I followed with great interest after having been influenced to love football by some of my high school classmates, especially Wesley Moss Chege who loved leading discussions and arguments on soccer.
I was still in Starehe when the 2006 FIFA World Cup took place. And the school rules were still strigent but I managed to break them together with some of my friends in Starehe Institute because we were now older students in Starehe. Imagine we would sneak out of school at night to a nearby television joint to watch the matches.
As I have said, I strongly rooted for Brazil which I believed would lift the cup because of its then talented and experienced attacking combo of Ronaldo and Ronaldinho.
So much did I root for Brazil that I put an image of Ronaldinho on the main window of the software program I have told you I created on that year's World Cup fixtures when I was at Starehe Institute. Creating that software program was an exhilarating experience which helped me to better understand computer programming, a skill that has wonderfully enriched my life these days.
Given the way I strongly rooted for Brazil, I was heartsick when the team lost to France in the quarter-finals thanks to a surprise goal by Thierry Henry. I was so heart-sick that I didn't turn up for church the following day.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup took place at a time I was facing hard times in my life. I had just dropped out of the university in JKUAT the previous year and was still unsure of what to do with my life. And when the World Cup began that year, I thought it would help me feel rejuvenated with energy.
How wrong I was! I used to feel lonely and guilty on most times I went to watch the matches at a restaurant near my home-town. (Whoever said you can feel lonely in a crowd was on point.) And when Brazil lost to the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of that year in 2010, I didn't feel as heart-sick as I had in 2006, probably because it made me realize I wasn't the only one losing in the game of life.
I also took an interest in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and rooted for Brazil as usual. So strongly did I root for Brazil that I would at times get horribly nervous when Brazil was playing. Imagine I got so nervous during one match that I had to stop watching it and instead preferred to hear of match results later on. And I was a bit disappointed when Brazil lost heavily to Germany in the semi-finals. They lost 1-7, if my memory serves me well.
As of this year's World Cup, it has taken place at a time when I am beginning to feel in control of my life. I am still rooting for Brazil as I did when I first followed the World Cup in 2006. And I am delighted that they hammered Mexico 2-0 in a round of 16 match held today in the evening.
Now that I have professed my fascination with FIFA World Cups, I believe the next one in 2022 will take place when I will be married and in my own home, God willing. How about you? What do you envision to have achieved by 2022 World Cup in Qatar?
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on the team I am rooting for in this year's World Cup, you might also enjoy another story I wrote sometimes back on Scoring in Life. Just click on that link in blue to jump straight into the story.
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Thinking. Believing. Daring.
In a thought experiment, I am imagining myself 50 years from now. It's 2068 and I'm 80 years old. I am seated on a sofa listening to Handel and Mozart.
Then, I begin to ponder on my life: the career successes and how I've been able to provide for my family. I think of all the great moments with my family and friends. But then I start to think about all of the things I wished I had done just a little differently: my regrets. I can guess at what they might be.
Sitting in 2068, I will wish I had appreciated my parents and told them how much I valued them before they passed away. I will wish I had married a better partner - someone who filled me with joy and emotional contentment, with whom I shared values and interests, who respected me and loved me for my uniqueness. I will wish I had spent more time with my children. I will wish that I better used my gifts to empower others and make the world better. I will wish I had pursued my passions: music, writing, gardening and public-speaking. I will wish I smiled more, laughed more, danced more and created more.
Just as I am thinking about all these regrets in 2068, an angel of God appears and tells me, "Thuita, you are a good man. And for that reason, God has decided to give you a second chance at life." All of a sudden, I find myself where I am seated today. Awesome!
It is 2018 and I am in my pleasantly fit and pain-free 30 year old body. I begin to realize that it has really happened. I actually do have the chance to do it over again. To have the same career successes and deep relationships. Now I can laugh more, dance more and love more. My parents are here again so it is my chance to love them like I wished I had done the first time. I can be the source of positivity that I wished I had been the first time around. What a lucky young man I am!
Following this chance I have been given by God, what do I need to do with it? Okay, let me think and tell you about it.
First, I need to appreciate each successive day, whatever it brings. I should greet each day with a smile and be a source of energy as well as optimism. In addition, I need realize or even rationalize that the grass is truly greener on my side of the fence. Just the belief that it is becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Secondly, I need to pursue my passions and follow my heart. I should remember that real success comes from maximizing my internally derived happiness. It will not come from external status or money or praise. It will come from a feeling of contribution. A feeling that I am using my gifts in the best way possible.
Last but not least, I need not be depressed or overly worried about anything. When I feel stressed, I should look up at the night sky and ponder the distance to the next star and the age of the universe. That will help put things in perspective.
The ball is in my court. I need to be inspired to achieve my dreams so that when the year 2068 comes, I will look back at my life and comfortably say to myself, "I have made the most of my life. It has been fulfilling."
Likewise, I beseech to take time to think about your future and the life you'd love to live. Also, identify your talents because tapping into them is the key to having a rewarding and a fulfilling career. Take time to develop them every day. And remember what you want to do with ease, you must first learn to do with diligence. Over to you!
AFTERWORD: I wrote this story several years ago during a time I used to practice plagiarism - a vice I have long since given up on. And I edited then reproduced the story here today because much of the storyline seems to be my own original work. I however suspect I must have copy-pasted some of the sentences from the internet into the story though I can't recall ever doing that. Whatever the case, I hope to be forgiven and updated for any leads that would help me recall how I came up with the story.