So I watched the match between Brazil and Germany…well, not exactly…more like ran from the kitchen to shouts from the two male species in the living room to catch a glimpse of the Olympic men’s football match as the final penalty kick was about to be taken. As the man chosen to take this final decider prepared to kick the ball, a man, a young boy and a middle-aged woman thousands of miles away in a continent down under, players and spectators in Mineirao stadium, in the streets of Rio, the corners of Brazil, and billions before their television sets, radios and computers around the world, all stood beside the man on that soccer field; Neymar da Silva Santos Junior.
He was the captain, the leader of the team, the one who in this tiny drop of time could fill oceans of hearts with dashed dreams, disappointment, anger, regret and sadness, or joy, gratitude, hope, rekindled dreams and newly sown ones. He had his fate, the fates of his nation and kinsmen and the fates of his valiant opponents in his hands, he needed faith, a lot of it, to face and accept what is meant and will come to be. He was the man who win or lose would be held responsible, remembered and recorded in the books for this moment. It was a possibility he had prepared and yet was most probably unprepared for, as it was all going to come down to this one goal. Neymar struck the ball; he took the shot and scored a spectacular goal, he scored the goal.
Neymar won the match for his team, he won for Brazil the country’s first football Olympic gold, he won against Germany and ‘righted a historical wrong’ returning the ‘honours’ after Brazil’s humiliating 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat to Germany two years ago. He won back his nation’s name not just as a football giant but a god in world football arena. As I go back to making breakfast and continue on with my ordinary day, I am filled with a myriad of thoughts fuelled into reflection by the extraordinary story I had been given a glimpse of, the slice of history I had just witnessed.
As I go back to dreaming my own dreams, standing before the blaze of fire underneath the pot as it cooked the morning’s meal, before me lay the lesson from one cold winter morning, from one city, in one country, in one faraway continent from one soccer goal. We dream to win, work to get to the place of our dreams, prepare for success, pray for its rewards and wait for success to come. Then, the moment arrives, our moment, and there’s nothing else to plan, there’s nothing more to do, we’ve said our prayers and now it’s time to take the shot.
We get to take our one shot, we may get many shots at good but we’re only given one shot at great or the beginning of a great journey into even greater. The final result is in our hands and yet out of our hands. It will be glorious victory or unforgettable defeat or loss; both will change our lives, both will bring tears, both might give us some medals, but only one will give us the gold.
Summayyah Sadiq-Ojibara is a writer, poet, counsellor, psychotherapist and life coach. Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org