The Champion

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  YOU ARE THE CHAMPION

1960, KESHEQUE TOWN, UNAMI

“We have called you today, to put the situation of your son before you and for us to reason together on how we can help him” The Principal with his bogus glasses almost hindering the whole face, looked from left to right at the parents. Kunami was sitting far away right, fidgeting with fear. The father turned to face his son and the boy shook more for the fear of his life when they got home.

“And what do you think are his situations, Mr. Principal?” Kunami’s mother gave a stern look at the principal. She was dressed almost shabby in her faded Ankara and flowered head tie.

“Your son is not very bright, in fact, he is a failure in his academics. He gives us great concern as he is in ss2 preparing soon for his WAEC. He hardly socializes with anyone and keeps to himself” The principal said

“So what are you implying?” The father said

“First, we are wondering if he is going through any abuse at home? Or if you can give us some information that can help relate with him. As you know very well your son is vital to us as he has been the only one to ever bring the Gold medal in inter-state school championship for running”, He paused, “The truth is we cannot allow him to go to the SS3 class, He is not fit for the race” The principal finally removed his glasses and placed them on his wooden table.

“Can you see the ill-luck your dull head has brought you now?” The father raged at his son

“My son is not repeating this class.  Give him another chance, I promise that he’ll improve. You cannot just continue to stop pushing him now that he is going to the examination class! Then you shouldn’t have started at all than to stop now!” She stood now and faced her husband, “I can’t believe you Kudjoh, My son is a bright boy. How dare you say that to your own son?”

“Look madam, don’t take things hysterical here. We cannot promote him and that is final. He is not fit for the race”

“And what bloody race are we talking about principal?! What bloody race? What races are you fit for Mr. Principal tell me! You cannot kill the dreams of my son going to the university. I was a biology teacher for ten years at the grammar school and I can tell you my boy is bright” she clenched her teeth from the choking tears. She had her husband had suffered so much on the boy

“Madam you sound so sure…”

“My blood flows in his veins” She cried, “and he is my only child”

Kunami began to cry now on seeing his mother shed tears. He stood up angrily, “Give me another chance sir…please”

“Oh shut up and sit down, what have you done with all your chances!” The father pushed him to the chair.

“Are you giving him another chance or not?” She asked, her crying eyes piercing through the heart of the principal. “You are also a father. Won’t you ask for another chance?”

The principal put back his glasses on “We would give him another chance on one term probation. If he fails the first term, we will send him back to SS2”

“Fine sir, Fine. Kunami, come here beside me” she said

Kunami stood beside her now. She wiped his tears and placed her hand over his shoulder, “Tell the principal your name”

“I know his name” The principal cut in

“Go on” The mother said

“What are you doing woman, let’s get our shameful heads out of here!” the father raged

“Kunami” The boy said

“What do you want to become in life son?” She asked, tears streaming down now

“A football coach” He said now

She looked at her husband, and then the principal, “At least he knows his name and what he wants to become in life. How dull is he after all?” She said

The husband and principal looked at themselves in awe, “Thank you principal. You shall hear news” She took her son by the hands firmly and walked out of the premises. They walked very fast

“Take me to the field you like to play the football” She said.

He took her there. It was a large field with a dirty ball and two goal nests. The mother slowly picked up the ball

“You are a failure” She said to him

“Mother?”

“I said you are a failure!  A donze! You’ve got no brains! You are the last! You will never make it!! The principal is right, you are a fail…”

“I am not a failure!!!” Kunami clenched his hands and shouted with everything in him crying

The mother came closer now and handed the ball to him, “say it again. Shout it at the top of your voice!” She said

“I am not a failure!!!” He screamed, crying

“Good. Never let anyone tell you who you are not. Now, I want you to score a goal in that net ” She pointed

Kunami wondered if his mother was insane. He put the ball before him and gave a piercing look at the net. He imagined the ball in there and inhaled deeply.

“Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrghhhhhhhhh!!!!” He kicked the ball with every muscle in him

The mother watched in awe at her son’s display, she watched how the ball entered the net forcefully and tore it down. The net wasn’t too strong at the time . Kunami fell slowly to the floor on his knees and wept.

She took her son by the arms and lifted him up. “Never let anyone say to you that you are a failure. I saw you focus and mussel every energy you’ve got inside of you to make that goal and even tore the net… I want you to put that same energy in your academics and score that goal. That net couldn’t contain the energy you got inside. I don’t want that school to contain you after you make things right. I saw you focus on the net before you shot the ball too, I want you to focus. For everything in life, you focus. Look, I see you beyond what anybody says. I first knew you in my womb. You are a strong, bright boy and I am proud to have you. You brought the gold medal home for race championship. I want you to bring another Gold medal home from your academics. It’s not for me, but for you to keep for life as a reminder that you are not a failure. Are you ready?”

“I am ready”

“Are you ready?!” She shook him now with a raised voice

“I am ready mother!” He said now, with a confidence she had never heard in his voice

“You are going to have the best entrance result; you are going to bring back a lot of prizes after your exams. Every football coach once had a coach. I am going to be your first coach.  We would read together and we will not rest till the battle is over alright?”

“What can I do to thank you mother?” He hugged her

“You know what to do” She pat him slowly at the back and released herself from the embrace, still holding his hands firmly.

“Now that you know you are not a failure. Let me tell you who you are. Now, as a Biology teacher for years, I know that there is only one egg from me, your mother, but there are millions of sperm from your father. Only the champion can win the race to win the heart of the egg and you are that champion. You swam the fastest and strongest, you had successfully gone through all the obstacles to meet with my egg. That was all you did in here”, she placed his hands on her belly “That I have you now before me. Out of the millions of sperms, swimming to win my egg, you were the only one that won the race. From the beginning, you have always been the champion. You are the champion” She caressed his head

“Mother…mother I…” He cried now as she took him into her arms “You are going to win this race my son and you will be successful in life. The world will hear this story someday” she said

“I promise you mother, I am going to score this goal” He hugged her tight.

“Let’s go home” she held him by the hand

“Aye, Aye coach” He saluted

                                                              the end

Dear Friend,

You should know how the story ended right? He did not only get almost all the prizes, He had the best result in WAEC ever since the school’s inception and even had a scholarship from the British commonwealth of nations to further his education in Britain. He certainly did not only score the Goal, he tore the net!  

Who is your coach?

I don’t care what people have told you or what the world thinks of you. You are not a failure. Kunami’s mother said it all. You were the champion from the beginning and you still are. The mistake we all make is, we never subject ourselves to those who have made it before us. Everyone should have a coach (mentor) in his or her life, someone who will bear the light for you to see your path to victory, someone who will teach you the precepts and correct your mistakes, someone that you have to subject to his heed. If you do not have a coach, get one now! No one is too old or too young to be guided through the journey of success. Every coach was once coached!

YOU ARE THE CHAMPION…yes you are!

Lowla Dee

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