Saturday, February 16, 2008


This is a portion of an article on today's Ottawa Citizen. It's a story about the Carleton University soccer team going to Cuba to donate soccer equipment. Nice enough in itself, one paragraph in particular caught my eye as a lesson on how best to appreciate what you have.

Richard Starnes, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Saturday, February 16, 2008

Stuffed in with their luggage, the girls have enough soccer gear -- used and new -- to make the whole of Cuba jealous and it is all winging its way to a very excited bunch of youngsters in Sanctus Spiritus.

They have 300 soccer balls donated by Umbro -- even the Cuban national team has nothing like that, Sebrango says. There are bibs and cones, used Carleton shirts, shinguards and socks. There has even been a donation of toothpaste and tooth brushes from a woman who overheard chatter about the trip and made the donation through her dentist husband.

I wish the Carleton group, who left yesterday for a seven-day trip, had had the chance to talk with former Canadian international Craig Forrest, who is an ambassador with SOS Children's Villages, an organization that uses soccer to raise funds for orphanages they build all over the world.

Forrest would have told them what he saw and how it affected him when he visited one orphanage -- partly sponsored by the Canadian Soccer Association. It's called Canada House in Rustenburg in northern South Africa.

Forrest and Kelsey Lemon, of SOS here in Ottawa, carried as many soccer balls as they could when they visited, although it was nothing like 300. And he remembers how excitedly wide-eyed the kids were to see even one ball.

One kid was particularly talented and a candidate for a university scholarship so they gave him a ball for himself. What did the kid do? He took the ball over to his friends and told them it was theirs -- not his. There was never any thought of not sharing.

Now I know the Carleton girls are not going to someplace as poor as that. But what they are bringing will thrill the kids. So will their soccer skills.

This promises to be a life-altering adventure on both sides.


Anonymous said...

Yes, this is what happens when a child is raised in a non-capitalist and non-materialistic society. To our eyes, they may seem poor. But in reality, they are so rich in good, down-to-earth values.

I saw a documentary once on the national cuban baseball team. Those guys work all day at regular jobs. Then often have to take the bus to practices at night. A far cry from our "pampered princesses" of sport.

The Carleton University gesture makes me proud of being Canadian. Then again, I have a soft spot for Cuba. Who would not admire a country that has been able to survive without the help of the almighty US of A.


Lynn Sinclair said...

What a great idea, and a wonderful memory for those girls.