James Final POV
Ignited by a stick of dynamite, the sky exploded with a burst of orange, streaking through heaven’s pillows. Morphing into a tough, bright, and reddish yellow rind, the overhanging dome sent a claustrophobic feeling scattered throughout the earth.
Scanning the perimeter, I could see a once labour-worn, now boisterous group of children. As they lost themselves within the moment, shrieks of delight rang throughout the shop as they maneuvered through the ever aging pile of goods with an uncanny ease. Like a horse rearing to go before the gates open, like the tremble of an arrow before release, the invigorating seaside breeze brushed past the bronze coatings of skin filled the air with a crackling atmosphere. In which at the sound of the words “you can go play now” would release the invisible restraints set upon them during the day. Allowing them to be free. The once dark gloomy presence of silence inside the shop was now replaced with euphoric voices scrambling over each other in a desperate attempt to be heard. With each step hovering above the cracked concrete which covered the floor, there were no traces whatsoever of the heavy footsteps which earlier echoed throughout the room.
As I sat straight up in a chair which had witnessed eternity unfold, my emotions contracted the vibe of excitement which rippled throughout the air. Looking around, a rare smile spread across my face. For although every building seemed as if on the verge of collapsing, the stubborn heart of hope and happiness which propped them up refused to crumble. As my gaze suddenly stumbled upon the field which was situated in the middle of the village, the tiniest smile which danced around on my face broke into a huge grin. Representing the one light at the end of the week which I could look towards, just the sight of the field cast away the vapid atmosphere. The heavenly scent of grass triggering bubbles of joy which awaited in eager anticipation to burst from my pores. Radiant under the freedom of a friday afternoon, the field had somehow crossed the boundary between heaven and earth.
Something extraordinary happened though. Out of the distance, I suddenly saw an odd group of people walking towards our village. Sweat drenched and drained of whatever energy they had left, it looked like they were trying to walk through a giant wall of glue. As they trudged along the only road leading towards our village, they displayed various clothing in all shades and hues stuck to an assortment of complexions. The sight gave off an aura of total disarray. As soon as they saw the village though, their faces brightened in an instant. Almost all of them made a mad dash towards the convenience stores, blitzing down the road and away from the group. Like locusts, they stripped the stores of all their goods, voraciously devouring the junk food and soda. There was one person who didn’t join the crowd though. A single student seemed entranced.....by the field. His face brighter than the incandescent light of a roaring fire, he studied each blade with utmost concentration as if he had never seen grass before.
Grabbing a few of my friends and a ball, I headed out towards the field. Something was different about him. Very different. His hunger for home didn’t seem to be curbed by the small snacks and drinks that we offered in the shops, but more by.....football. As he tentatively approached us, my heart rate began to rise as the magnificence of the game of football became ever more apparent for it allowed a connection within different races. With a skin tone that had seen plenty of time under the sweltering heat of the sun, the sun’s rays glinted off his bronze skin.As he reached us, he asked a question which took us all by surprise, “may I play football with you?”
As soon as his words floated across, I gave a strong nod of approval. His face lit up with a childlike charm and relinquishing the ball from my grasp, we wove him into our tight knit circle. Total autonomy and fluidity was built into every movement as the ball flowed comfortably across the grass. A few of his bloated friends started to waddle over and they seemed bewildered when they saw that he was playing with us. Motioning for them to join and turning our friendly passing into a competition, we started a 3 vs. 3 match.
Hearts set ablaze and an unwillingness to hide within the confinements of the dark, a trickling stream of my villagers transformed into a cataract as 60 odd bodies were now blazing up and down the sea of green. The quiet chatter once barely heard in the background was now completely inaudible as the full fledged match entailed cross after cross, chance after chance. As time slowed down, the appreciation of life on earth suddenly became eminent. The ability to connect with others valued.
Still imprinted within my brain, that one experience with people from a different race will be one which I will treasure. I toil every week in the shop and week upon week I wait for another group of foreigners. Like the grass which silently sits, waiting for the next time in which it will be used, I am silently sitting. Waiting for another chance to connect through the power of soccer.
Ignited by a stick of dynamite, the sky exploded with a burst of orange, streaking through heaven’s pillows. Morphing into a tough, bright, and reddish yellow rind, the overhanging villa sent a claustrophobic feeling scattered throughout the earth.
Scanning the perimeter, I could see a once boisterous, now downtrodden group of people. Trudging regrettably onwards through the ever growing obstacle which humidity provided. Urging us to go back, the uncomfortable and intolerable sense of skin on shirt pooled throughout the entire group. Displaying various pieces of fabric in all shades and hues stuck to an assortment of complexions, the sight gave off an aura of total disarray. The euphoric voices which once piled on top of each other in a scramble to be heard, were now gone. Replaced by the darkness of despair and silence. Requiring the mustering of great strength for each step, the discordant symphony of feet on gravel was enough to render frustration within the whole group.
Below the commanding sky lay a remote village which had witnessed eternity unfold. On the verge of collapsing and defying all expectations, the domiciles which were left propped up on nothing but hope alone contained the one light after an abysmal week. For as the locale slowly came into sight, the vapid atmosphere which had ominously loomed like a dark cloud during the expedition instantaneously disappeared. Not because the will of the infrastructure astounded me but because a piece of rectangular grass materialized. Radiant under the freedom of a friday afternoon, a piece of land had somehow crossed the boundary between heaven and earth. The flourishing piece of land following those who pined for it most.
With my spirits in an uncontrollable state and perambulating towards the field, each and every one of my buoyant footfalls announced my presence to the grass. As I neared the rustic kampong, the atmosphere crackled to life. Sparks of electricity were sent through my body as I prepared to cross the threshold into cloud nine. Each blade of grass was crafted with utmost precision and care. The field Now dappled with shade, it was a sight to behold.
On top of the masterpiece also stood 3 adolescent locals, whose labour worn faces now relaxed under the sun. Still drawn towards the ever-changing grass, the soles of my feet were now impatiently awaiting the first touch of a ball. Beckoning through silence, the grass swayed in anticipation as I took my first step onto the heavenly patch of land.Sinking into the rich earth, all time ceased to move. Owing to the fact that I relished every moment gifted to me. Through my peripheral vision, a blur of people blew past me in a race to get to the convenience stores. Yet, unlike my classmates, my deprivation from the comfort of home was not going to be cured by a pack of greasy chips and carbonated water. It was going to be cured by football.
Tentatively approaching the locals, my heart rate began to rise as the magnificence of the beautiful game became ever more apparent. With skin tones imitating that of a bronze medal, their each and every sinew was accentuated by the carefully carved out veins. Their bare feet now glinting under the sun’s setting rays, I kept my line of inquiry direct, and unambiguous. “May I play football with you?”
As soon as the words floated through the air and were sent across, their bronze faces lit up with a childlike charm. Relinquishing the ball from their grasp, I was slowly interwoven into the tight knit circle of locals as the ball comfortably flowed across the ground. All of their eyes now incandescent with that childhood passion only happiness can evoke. Soaring on wings, each of my touches cushioned then cut across the ball. A total sense of autonomy and fluidity inadvertently built into my movements. Faces lit up, the three locals also portrayed the elegance and grace of a master over the ball. Effortlessly passing it back and forth. A few of my bloated classmates carried perplexed looks on their faces as they realised I was playing. Fused into our kick-about, and turning the intensity up a notch, we proceeded towards the commencement of a friendly competition;3 vs. 3, under the now fiery red ball in the sky.
Hearts set ablaze and an unwillingness to hide within the confinements of the dark, a trickling stream of locals transformed into a cataract as 60 odd bodies were now blazing up and down the sea of green. The quiet chatter once barely heard in the background was now completely inaudible as the full fledged match entailed cross after cross. Chance after chance. Completely occupying the tiny portion of my brain. As time slowed down, the appreciation of life on earth suddenly became eminent. The ability to connect with others valued.
This is the kind of power that soccer has; it can sway emotions from one side to the extreme opposite side of the spectrum. The emotions generated from the connection of ethnicities through soccer are the most powerful. For just by kicking a ball about, you are able to connect with the rest of the world. Evoking the emotions that have been instilled into you by past generations and friends. This power inspires people to persevere towards greatness in soccer. For it will allow them to display an impressive array of technique and skill after time. After all, power is our ultimate goal and emotions are the driving force, as well as the obstacle behind everything that we do.