Talent

I’ve always wanted to play football in one of the big leagues and show the world the talent God gave to me.

People who’ve known me for years still can’t believe I didn’t play professionally. Allow me to blow my own horn; I am blessed with the gift. I can play as a playmaker, striker or winger. I am tremendously skillful with both feet, have a flair for defence-splitting passes and a hawk eye for goal.

Everybody in my family supported this dream of mine except my dad. My dad is a very intelligent, meticulous and articulate man thus I trust his opinions and thoughts. The moment I knew he didn’t give his consent, my heart sank because I believe the man die!

He said “How can you, my son be a professional footballer? Mba nu! You are more intelligent than that. You must be educated. What would you do when you retire from the game at 30/35?”

He had a very serious point. Most footballers call time on their career between the ages of 30 and 39. You know what they say, life begins at 40 so you see where he’s already looking at. If I retire at 30 without education, I could become a liability to other members of the family.

My dad always maintained education doesn’t make one rich but gives you wealth of knowledge and removes the scales of ignorance from your eyes. He believed footballers are womanizers, who lavish their money on girls, cars and other irrelevant things because they lack educational exposure.

My late uncle was an ex-Green Eagle and my in-law, Christian Obodo used to play for the Super Eagles. In my late uncle’s case, his career was cut short by a nagging knee injury and my dad said to me…”My son, if you have a career ending injury like your uncle, what would you do with your life?” I couldn’t utter a word.

I kept on nursing my ambition to lock horns with the stars I watch every week on television, I sent my video clips to some clubs, most notably Manchester United and Real Madrid wearing their colours in the video clips. I even proceeded to write SAT with my friends Ababa & El Rey which I passed and got admission to study Economics at Memorial University of Newfoundland, UCLA or University of Illinois but my dad didn’t budge. The coach of University of Illinois Men’s soccer team at the time, Ben Massena tried to pull the deal through…for where? UK and Ireland (University of Loughborough to study Chemical Engineering) came calling…zilch! Then my dad asked me one question that if I answer it correctly I could go play wherever I want. He asked “what would you do with the money you will make?” Huh, did I hear him correctly? Who you dey ask that one? I mean I was 15/16 at the time and of course, I couldn’t answer that question. I was speechless and numb.

Parents often pressurize their kids into choosing things they don’t want like filling Medicine and Surgery, Law, Enginnering or any other professional course on their JAMB forms for one particular reason or the other (could be selfish or not). That’s why some of these kids end up failing because they have no interest in the course or are afraid of failing & disappointing their parents.

Don’t get me wrong, our parents love us and they want the best for us but what they fail to understand is that God gave you that talent you have for a reason.

All they have to do is support and encourage the child’s dreams and ambitions and help him/her develop that talent. When they do, the child will definitely do exceedingly well. I’m yet to see a person who failed to bring to fruition his dreams, goals and ambitions when he/she had the backing of the parents.

For instance, look at Lionel Messi, the man who every football lover believes is a Martian, was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency at the age of 11. Argentine perennial champions, River Plate backed out on offering him a deal because they had no money to foot his medical bills. Then came Barcelona with an escape route for the Argentine imp, offering to pay his medical bills only if Messi signed for their academy (La Masia). The father, Jorge agreed and resigned from his job as a factory steel worker and migrated to Barcelona to be with his son.

Today, he’s won everything winnable except the World Cup. He has been world footballer of the year thrice at just 24 and has 21 winners medal with club and country including a myriad of individual honours.

If you have a talent, nurture it and put it to great use. If you are a parent, help your child discover his/her talent, aid and support the development of this God-given talent.

What’s your talent?

Experience

Experience, they say, is the best teacher. The things we go through everyday influence the way we think and behave.

Sometimes, what you read or hear about people’s experiences isn’t enough; you need to have a first hand experience to grasp what the thing is all about.

That is why I don’t believe in success books, relationship books, motivational books and others. I see them as a bunch of hokum. I know some of you are already nodding or shaking your head in agreement or disagreement as the case may be.

Let me use the relationship (marriage) books for instance, these writers paint a picture based on the experiences they have had; a wise man once told me, you can’t write a book on marriage because our experiences differ and I couldn’t agree more.

Some people who write about the success of their relationships, are actually unhappy but paint a Cinderella picture to his or her readers who end up believing every relationship is like that. The fact remains that no relationship is guaranteed a smooth road and people must fight in a relationship. These fights are actually “the rate-limiting steps” that either strengthen the bond between friends/lovers or make them enemies for the rest of their lives.

However, our experiences can leave an indelible imprint in our head/mind, thus changing our perception about things and life in general. That’s why we do forgive but rarely forget. Our day-to-day experiences shape us and we try to re-adjust to ensure such scenario does or doesn’t repeat itself depending on how it tasted.

Let me use this illustration: certain anti-malarial drugs have been used in treatment and prevention of malaria but the plasmodium (causative organism of malaria) has been found to have developed a resistance to several anti-malarial drugs such as chloroquine, once the parasite gets used to the administered drug, it blocks and neutralizes the effect of the drug. The same applies to our day-to-day activities, a bad experience makes us hard-bitten and aids us create a resistance to hard things life throw at us.

That player or runs girl out there wasn’t always that way, he or she she has been a victim of betrayal of trust and heartbreak. Alas! They make up their minds never to fall in love again, breaking other innocent people’s hearts in the process and the cycle continues.

A friend of mine once told me how his friend took advantage of his nice nature and betrayed him. He had given the friend some money to help him purchase a car; only for the friend to abscond with the money.

Another man told me how he helped his family members and the only way they could repay him was to accuse him falsely to the point that he was ostracized by his village community. The man made a statement I’d never forget. He said “HELP IS A SIN”.

To these two aforementioned people, experience taught them a bitter lesson they would never forget, their perceptions about trust and help have also changed and nothing can be done or said to make them feel otherwise.

In the end, experiences are very important but can make us the finest or the worst of men.