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You didn't do it alone

September 06, 2015

Every so often I will share something I found from the net that touched my heart for one reason or another. Today’s share comes from the footballing arena, specifically from a lot of people’s football sweetheart. His name is Cristiano Ronaldo, the ladies eye candy… J Anyway, moving on swiftly, this is the honorable and touching story of Cristiano.

Moments after Real Madrid Football Club won their 10th UEFA Champions League trophy in 2014, the global audience and thousands of football fans at the Stadium of Light in Lisbon were taken by surprise when Cristiano Ronaldo abandoned the team's celebration and ran to a section of the stand to pull out a man from the crowd and hug him affectionately.

The action took a lot of people by surprise and everyone wanted to know who the person was that Ronaldo went to hug instead of celebrating the win with his team. This was a public confession by Ronaldo to honor his childhood club-mate who 'sacrificed himself’ and allowed the Portuguese star to become the global icon he is today.

Much, much later, Ronaldo said in an interview he granted some years ago that he and his friend were vying for a spot in an academy of Andorinha in Funchal, Madeira. “I have to thank my old friend Albert Fantrau for my success. We played together for the same team in the U-18 championship. When a scout came to see us, he (the scout) said that “Whoever scores more goals will come into our academy.””

“We won that match 3-0. I scored the first goal then Albert scored the second with a great header. But the third goal was impressive for all of us. You see, Albert was one-on-one against the goalkeeper, he rounded the goalkeeper and I was running in front of him. “All he had to do was to score that goal but he passed it to me and I scored the third goal, so I got that spot and went to the academy. My friend didn’t.”

“After the match I went to him and asked him why he did that. Albert said that “Because you (Ronaldo) are better than me”.”

Journalists then went to Albert’s house and asked him if it was a true story. He said yes. He also said that his career as a player after the match ended and now is unemployed.

“But how did you build this great house? How do you manage to have a car? You seem like a rich man. You are also able keep your family well. From where did all this come from?” The journalists wondered.

Albert more proudly replied: “It is all from Ronaldo!”

Now you know why Ronaldo had to single him out of the crowd to share in his celebration. He acknowledged the fact that he would never have gotten to where he is today if he had not received that helping hand from his friend.

Ronaldo’s story reminds me of a quote I once read and even though I can’t remember the quote verbatim, I’ll try paraphrase it for the benefit of everyone: every one of us has in one time or another gotten a break in life by having just one person in their life do something great for them.

This could come in different ways, e.g. someone recommending you to someone else for a job you well deserve. Or someone stepping in to act as a sponsor or a mentor with an aim to help you become the person you should be. Or it could be someone who stands in for you when you need someone to guarantee you for a loan at the bank or something that tying or binding. Whatever the case, if you look back, every one of us has at one time or another gotten help from someone.

Can you identify the people in your life who have helped you get that much needed break? What have you done to recognize them, or are you one of those people who think they did everything by themselves? No man is an island and if you have been telling yourself that the achievements you have today are because of you and your hard work only, then you are completely wrong. Yes you may have worked hard. Yes you many have sacrificed a lot. And yes, you may have gone through a lot of challenges and overcome them all. But, if you are really honest with yourself, you will realize that in all that you have done and achieved, there was one person or even two or three who held your hand or made exceptional sacrifices to help catapult you to the top.

Question is, have you ever done what Ronaldo did? Have you taken time to go back and thank all of them people who helped you for what they did for you? Even if it is just a phone call to tell them thank you, have you ever done that? Not sure who said this but I completely agree with them that “appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts”.

This week, and this month in general, how about we purpose in our hearts that we shall be more appreciative and thankful to those people in our lives who have made it possible for us to enjoy what we enjoy today? It may not be money or material things, it could be an intangible thing they did but you know deeply in your heart that without that thing they did, you would not be where you are today.

Take time to be thankful. Take time to pull a Ronaldo and hug them for what they did for you. Take time to recognize the influence they had in your life.

To all those who are reading this article today and you have in one way or another touched my life, thank you for being there for me. I may not build a house or buy a car for you but know in my heart that your actions mean a lot to me.

Thank you.

PS: Article originally published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 6th September, 2015, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words"



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