Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Dreams, engagement and a soccer tournament

The first PPG soccer tournament ever.
The 29th of June it took place.
Langa Stadium.
12 teams competing, on knock-out terms.Three age categories (under-11, under-13 and under-15) with four teams of each.
A full day event, with lunch-serving for the teams & the accomodators.

Forward planning
Everything was planned.
Since weeks and weeks.
The fixing of catering, the printing of registration lists, the calling of volunteers, the ordering of  banners, the go-through with the DJ, the writing of speeches, the designing of trophies, the information meetings with all involved parties, the structuring of tasks, the creation of press releases, the contact with sponsors, the setting-up of posters, and the rehearsals with the performing trolls.
And of course, all the recurring check-ups.

The buildup
The morning of the 29th came.
The very VERY early kind, pre-sunrise.
It rained.
The whole night it literally poured down.
Last pep-talk, go-through and loads of preparations.
Minor panic.
It stopped raining. 
Carry, fix, print, tape, cook, mount, call, search, check.
Run run run.

The deadline
At 9:00 AM the first match would start.
At 9:15 AM the first match started.

The day, in pictures

Small soccer-fans paying a visit

Everything clicked
The major sponsor amazingly flew in from Sweden to take part of the day.
It stopped raining.
All teams signed in.
The DJ rocked.
The spectators at the stand loved the games. 
The players and the artists (more than 400 persons) all got their lunch.
The opening ceremony was perfect.
The finals were well-played and cheered.
All finalists got new kits (socks, shorts and t-shirts).
Sunset. The lack of sunbeams devolved omnipotence to the icy Capetonian winds.
The prize-giving was emotional and the winning teams were thrilled.
Proud parents hugged their winners.
All staff and volunteers performed marvelously. As a team, they pulled everything through.
There was that feel-good feeling all around and a smile on people's faces.
Langa saw how sports bring us together.

Thoughts of the whole
As I sat in the audience, watching the opening ceremony, it hit me.
The hundreds of dancing trolls with angel-wings at the soccer field.
The marimba guys doing their magic.
The PPG-staff running around all over.
The hundreds of spectators at the stand.
The sponsoring banners along the street.
The table with the prizes.
The catering gazebo filled with braaied hot-dogs.
The engaged volunteers, all wearing the yellow South African soccer shirt.
The whole.

A dream.
All of the above. Everything. Every tiny little detail.
It sprung from someone having a dream.
A dream of a real soccer tournament in a township, sure.
Even more, a dream of building something that would make life better.
Give children a chance to grow up differently, feeling good about themselves.
The desire to wake the inner pursuit of happiness in the growing generation by simply shedding a light on their own extravagance.
The vision of a society where people treat each other with respect, equality and tolerance.
The knowing that I matter.
The belief that change is possible, and that it must start somewhere.
Why not with MY dream?

All of this.
Because of a dream.

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