Tomorrow is my 6 year Old’s nephew’s birthday. Her mum just called me yesterday informing me on the same though from the last visit I made to their house, I knew it was somewhere in May. You know getting gifts for these lads is sometimes tough. How they outgrow those clothes so fast surprises me.
So number one; the gift is not going to be any cloth that I can assure you. So then what am I getting him?
The last time him and I had a conversation, he was twitching his legs waiting for his turn on the PlayStation. FIFA12 is exciting I must admit but how on earth do these kids enjoy FIFA12 when they would go out and run after some piece of polythene bound together in the shape of a ball?
Mmmmh, I did it and here I am.
Any less of a man? Certainly not.
So a few hours ago I make a call to his mum and ask to speak to him. Guess what, the only thing he needs for his birthday is not even a cake, not even a ball but a Manchester United Jersey. How on earth is that?
Holy heavens, I made a promise, I have to fulfill it, but how on earth am I ever going to convince this kid to ask for something else and not a jersey? How? A novel perhaps.
You know, in my time, KenAfric (if you don’t know KenAfric, sorry) came up with these chewing gum wrapped up in footballer stickers called FOOTBALL. That was somewhere in 1998.
Daddy had just bought his first TV so that meant I watched my first world cup. I fell in love with Ronaldo Luis Nosario(as I used to call it then) and who told you I love the French national team, I hated them right there and then. How on earth could they,,, Don’t mention. Heartbroken and distraught, I went to bed. I felt as though the whole world was crushing, Brazil meant everything to me then, it was my first encounter with football on TV, and boy; I loved it.
So every day, wanting to prove I was going to be the next Ronaldo, I set out to the pitch with my friends each of us trying every move we saw on TV. Those who idolized Zidane got me instantly mad, something stirred in me whenever that famous Zidane turn was made.
Away from the pitch, Kenafric football stickers were the order of the day. The five shillings my dad gave me every morning for some snacks was all spent on the chewing gum. Not until I knew Sir Alex Ferguson I thought I had chewed the largest amount of gum. All my old books were immediately turned into football sticker gallery. It was a huge competition each day. Since I went to school five times a week, it meant I had 25 stickers a week taking into account each gum went for a shilling only.
That meant, at the end of the year, I had over two exercise books filled with football stickers but the beating we got when one day the teachers realized what we do with our old books. You don’t want to know. It was the end of one beautiful chapter of my life, the passion for the game had just begun. The players’ names were on my fingertips and even though I never made it to being the next Ronaldo, it was a stepping stone in the right direction.
Years later my passion for the game has never died.
I envy my nephew at times but console myself I had a pretty good time as a kid too. I had FOOTBALL (the chewing gum), he has PlayStation. His mum bans PlayStation, he thinks she sucks; that teacher took away our sticker books, she sucked.
So that’s how we knew football then, that how they know football now.