The World Cup ended yesterday in dramatic fashion with Argentina winning the championship in penalty kicks. The beautiful thing about this tournament was many underdog teams provided delightful surprises. There were also many great stories, some of which I highlighted in the last Monday Morning Mojo.
Messi’s World Cup Dream
As for yesterday’s game, what many people don’t know is that in 2016, after Argentina lost a major tournament against Chile, Argentinian superstar, Lionel Messi, in frustration and disappointment, announced his retirement from representing the Argentina National Team.
When Enzo Fernandez, the Argentinian standout midfielder and one of the youngest players for the team in this World Cup, was just 15 years-old, he wrote a poem to Lionel Messi. The poem inspired Messi to such a degree, it is reported he reversed his retirement decision and committed himself to the dream of someday bringing home the World Cup trophy to Argentina. Well, this past weekend, that dream came true with Messi scoring many of the key goals and awarded “Golden Ball” award for the best player in the tournament, and Fernandez presented with the best “Young Player” award. Fernandez’s poem in 2016 went like this:
“How are we going to convince you? If we are disastrous. How are we going to convince you? We never had 1% of the pressure that you have on your shoulders. You wake up in the morning, you look in the mirror and you know that a crowd of over 40 million people wants you to do the perfect thing and it has been ridiculously imposed that they can demand it.
How are we going to convince you? If we fail to understand that you are a human being, a person with incomparable talent, the best player on the planet, but a person after all.
How are we going to convince you? If we don’t stop for a moment to realize that you are not responsible for the anger that losing causes us, which often has more to do with our own frustrations that are reflected there. Let’s look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we demand from ourselves 1% of what we demand from this guy we don’t even know.
Do what you want, Lionel, but please think about staying. Stay and have fun… in a world of ridiculous pressures, they manage to get the most noble thing out of the game, the fun.
Seeing you play with the light blue and white is the greatest pride in the world. Play for fun, because when you’re having fun, you have no idea how much fun we have. Thank you and forgive us.”
Confidence Conquers All
In the spirit of achieving dreams, I figured I would share a poem here my mother used to make me read before I competed in swimming meets as a young child. It is all about the importance of confidence, and it was written by Walter Wintle more than a century ago. My mom pinned this to our refrigerator and reciting this before each competition was somewhat of a ritual for me. Here it is:
By Walter Wintle
If you think you are beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you don’t,
If you’d like to win, but think you can’t
It’s almost a cinch you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost
For out in the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you’re outclassed, you are
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the strong or faster man,
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the ONE WHO THINKS HE CAN!
In the spirit of Christmas next week, I stumbled along this creative children’s poem by Shel Silverstein that provided a laugh. If you have not seen Silverstein’s poem entitled, Snowball, here it is.
~ Shel Silverstein
I made myself a snowball,
As perfect as could be,
I thought I’d keep it as a pet,
And let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas,
And a pillow for its head,
Then last night it ran away,
But first – it wet the bed!
Last night also was the first night of Hanukkah. Call this a poem, song or whatever you like, this piece by Adam Sandler that appeared on Saturday Night Live is a classic for those of us celebrating Hanukkah.
The Language of ProTactile
Finally, I listened to a New Yorker podcast about an accomplished poet who is blind and deaf and uses a language called ProTactile to communicate. Protactile is a language used by DeafBlind people using tactile channels, a form of nonverbal communication or body language in which touching, handshaking, kissing, etc. conveys a message from sender to receiver. Unlike other sign languages, which are heavily reliant on visual information, protactile is oriented towards touch and is practiced on the body. The feature of the story was about the poet, John Lee Clark, and helped me learn about a whole new form of communication I wanted to share with this community. Here is a video of one of his poems, assisted in voice by Halene Anderson.
I hope you had a good year in 2022, here’s to wishing 2023 is even better! My great thanks to you all for being part of this community.