Cameroon! West Africa, 1980, at the age of ten my aim in life was to beat inertia. The eerie feeling that deluged my every thought was the day to come that would see me overcome all the physical activity tossed at my disposal. I played all kinds of sport but failed to make an impact in any. For some reason or the other unknown to me at the time my mind stormed ahead creatively making the chances while my body lagged behind in apathy. I knew I was a gladiator in the spirit but wished with all my being to demonstrate my chivalry on the arena. In a small town like the one I lived in it was this prowess that drew the crowds. One became famous by being good in what others could see. All my virtuosity in the spirit, in the mind and in things I prided myself on having where never voiced. Besides then I didn’t know what they meant, I felt that I was just a dreamer who wished for things and believed in places and times that never existed.
‘Who would want to listen to anyone who gave far fetched speeches and showed no physical prowess?’ I was caught in a trench with little tolerance and I needed a miracle of sorts to help me escape.
The arena I dreaded the most was the playing ground that was made available to the community in which I lived. It was the kind of place that who was important went to and who would be talked about built a reputation. As I fell in neither category I devoured to seek my own vision from it. If no one was going to commemorate me from this place then I would seek my own status to carry through life.
The hard pebbled surface of the balcony in the community field could rip out flesh from anyone’s hind parts. I sat with legs dangling from an opening between bulges in the rocks and watched the four factions of football teams come to life in the early evening. It was another warm day on familiar territory and I waited for the games to kick-off. As usual I told myself that I would give anything to be in the line up of any of the teams. Mine was a place in the sidelines waiting to be selected from the reserves and hoping that a spot would become available if anyone got injured or tired. I found the strength of the players in the first teams preposterous, they never seemed to tire and looked as though they were built with titanium in their veins. My heart pounded uncontrollably each time I saw a forward receive the ball. I made the play, thinking out his every move and believed that I ran like the wind towards the opponents. The only problem was that it was my spirit that did all the running as I was incapable of his strength. I had failed to make even the junior teams and thinking out loud as I did most of the time was my only consolation. This became a nightmare! I would think up plays, strategies that would defeat opponents yet on the field my body would desert me. I needed something else, a means of inspiration that would change my focus. I needed to stop envying others and seek my own path.
In this instance of misadventure I began to dwell in the spirit. I sent my mind and body to the places that I could not reach. I told myself that even though I lacked the physical adeptness that was needed to compete in the teams I had the freedom and spiritual prowess to reach things far beyond my world. I dreamed up adventures in my mind and played in arenas across many oceans. In these places I was competitive and knew that I made a difference. To give my encumbrance latitude I believed that in the weakness of my body I was trapped under water. I was bridled on both legs by iron chains protruding from an enormous metal rock that pulled me down each time I tried to swim to the surface. I told myself that even with this restraint on my body, my spirit was free to escape and travel the world to whatever dimension I desired. In the distance I built a haven, a place of comfort for my mind and body believing that in this place I too would be picked in the teams and be chosen out of many to participate and make a difference.
As night descended in the realms of our local community field I sought comfort in my glimpse of the future. The teams had played with winners and losers but I had been a winner also. It was my little secret and I kept it for many years believing that my time would come one day.