Final night in Africa.
Spent my final night in Rwanda where I spent my first–on a soccer field.
There are many amazing things about this field such as it being in the middle of Kigali, surrounded by small homes that most folks living in the USA would never lie down in, and it is covered in dirt.
But none of that mattered as the sun set over the pitch on Liberation Day.
On this final night it would be easy to draft a blog about the dramatics that surrounded this dirt field under the backdrop of a community where 18 years ago today the worst genocide in modern history ended.
It would be another typical article if I wrote about how this community has revived itself after losing over 800,000 lives in 100 days.
It would be lame to sit on the top of a digital high horse and write a dramatic piece to end this trip, only to go back to a life that couldn’t be further from this communities history.
So I’ll write about what I was feeling on America’s Independence Day, as the only ‘Mizunga’ in sight.
As a 25 year old dribbled a beat up soccer ball past a defender I felt joy, as he was ballin.
As a 7 year old got frustrated while playing with the older kids I laughed out loud, as I recalled being the young guy who begged to play with the older kids.
As the sun set and each athlete squinted to see the ball and to squeeze out a few more minutes of play I felt pure happiness like I was playing alongside them, as we had many of those nights coercing the northeastern Pennsylvania sun to remain up for one more point, one more inning, one more touchdown reception.
You see, as this adventure ends and an unknown one begins I am again reminded that it doesn’t matter where we’re from, what color or gender we are or which direction we pray to–what matters is that we understand the power of a ball.
That we recognize the amazing art and science around competition.
That we remind ourselves that we compete for life every day, in everything we do.
That we continue to speak, learn and teach the language of the world, which as my good friend Santiago told me years ago is love.
Sure, some circumstances around the globe are different than others but one thing is certain–whether you are in Rwanda, the Congo, Israel, India, Brasil, or Cambodia–sport connects society, offers ‘esperance’ and drives us to compete for life.
So as I board a flight that is a continuation from PA to LA and beyond, it remains true that the language of the world remains love and the power of a ball remains limitless.
Hope you’re living life without limits, reminding yourself that your potential is limitless and your life experiences can be boundless.
Thanks for hanging, sharing and supporting.
And above all, thank you Rwanda.
Until next time,