Be Optimistic Like The Red Devils

I am a proud die hard Manchester United fan. By die hard I don’t mean I watch every game, enter arguments or get THAT emotional when things go bad for the team. After all I am not getting paid like the players but I will support the team in good times and bad times. I guess you could call it a marraige.

I decided to become a Manchester United fan in 1999. It was a couple of days before the UEFA finals that year and there was a lot of talk in school about whether Manchester United would beat Bayern Munich.

People were taking sides and at that time I didn’t have a clue of what was going on or the history that the two teams had built for themselves.

I am not really a soccer person but it felt wrong to not be bothered about this game and the ticket to participate in the discussions, arguments or pride talks was to choose a side.

Manchester, I believe by the UEFA finals had already won the Premier League and the FA Cup and were in route to obtain the UEFA cup making it a treble. I on the other hand had no clue about this and did not utilize this as a reason to choose Manchester.

I only leaned in the direction of Bayern Munich for patriotic reasons or so I thought. Samuel Kuffour, was a Ghanaian defender on the Bayern Munich squad so my thoughts initially were in favor of Bayern.

I did not make a decision till the day of the match. My younger brother was a Manchester fan and I guess on the day I decided to trust in the colour red and trust in my brothers tastes. We had sibling rivalry like any other normal family and I didn’t think soccer would have been a good reason for us to fight. So I went with Manchester.

Bayern were the first to score that day and I remember asking myself in thought whether I had made the right decision. But I stuck to my red colour.

In the closing minutes of the match I did think of announcing my divorce from Manchester. After all, this was my first match as a fan. I felt the rules would permit me to leave as a fan and move to Bayern as long as the match is not over……..but I stuck with Manchester.

In extra time miracles occurred. In quick succession, two substitutes that came in before extra time delivered the saving goals that saw Manchester win the treble and saw me become a fan for life. Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were the substitute players who saved the day to the shock of the Bayern players and fans who believed they had won.

Fast forward almost 20 years later, Manchester find themselves in similar waters in the UEFA cup. Honestly, I didn’t watch the match between Manchester and PSG but followed the highlights. I wasn’t surprised by the performance of the club. Such optimism hasn’t been felt in Manchester for a while but when the manger leading the team on is no other than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, an individual who has seen the team persevere time and time and again and has a spirit of hope, anything is possible.

I won’t bore you by breaking down how Manchester we’re victorious that night but rather shift the tone of the conversation a bit.

Part of the reason why I am a Manchester United fan is because on and off the pitch the team has a never say die attitude that has seen it become the most valuable soccer team.

This is a team that almost went bankrupt; had a fair share of financial problems; had its stadium bombed during the world war and lost an entire football squad in a plane crash amongst other disappointments. That coupled with their battles on the field which sometimes prove difficult make them a team that gels with my spirit of optimism.

If you are going to be optimistic then you have to have unshifting faith. Had I at the last moment moved as a fan to Bayern Munich, I would not be able to revel in the joy celebrated in victory minutes later.

Sometimes we have fought or struggled towards a goal always believing that things will change; only to give up at the very minute that things were about to change for good.

The question is how do you know when that change is coming? My answer is you don’t. However, the benefits of hanging on to what you believe outweigh giving up. (If you’re fighting for a good thing)

Things may be bad for you and yes, it may seem as if you are destined for failure. Nevertheless, you have to believe in yourself and keep fighting on.

This is always easier in my opinion if you have Jesus with you. He always knows how to provide the right word or send a person your way to encourage you.

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of Life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12

So don’t give up. It’s easy to think that the successful are successful because they’ve always had it all but that’s not the case. Everyone started from somewhere including great Manchester United.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9

You too can accomplish the mission deemed impossible. As long as your intentions are pure and you are right with the Lord. It’s just cooler when you are a Manchester fan and more importantly believe in Jesus.

Keep it ONE HONDRED!

Superman Birthdays

I recently found out that I wore the same red Superman t-shirt on my sons last birthday gathering. I did not plan on giving this item of apparel the “birthday t-shirt” status but considering I chose it twice and literally as I came out of the shower, I guess it deserves that title.

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Me and my son on his 1st Birthday

As a father raising a young son, I am learning how to deal with a kids birthday in the current social media, internet crazed world we are in.
Privileged as I was growing up, I didn’t have the luxury of my dad being around on my birthdays. I thus make an effort to ensure that I am around for my little man and pray that I will not be too busy in the future to being with him to celebrate the day my wife and I were blessed with his presence.
My son on his first birthday just wanted to run around and was excited to see other kids playing together. He had just figured out how to walk and was graduating to running and seeking the new freedom his limbs gave him. My family, in laws and close friends were around to celebrate the day.
As they arrived, I begun to realize the disadvantage of having more adults than kids at a toddlers birthday. Don’t get me wrong they are a great crowd however the day was about my son and I realized I had not made plans for entertaining the kids that day.
Kids also need space to express themselves, run around, play and perform other interesting activities like eat sand, mimic adults and the uncanny art of spoiling things. The space though large enough, didn’t afford the kids that opportunity.
Making matters worse it rained that day. The rains came down hard and moved the little party inside. Needless to say, the party spirit of the kids was dampened and we had little room for both kids and adults to move around in.
I thus advised myself to stick to kids around his age range for his upcoming birthdays. Adults and kids together is a bit too complicated for my hosting abilities and takes away from the little man having his fun.
I think I can handle a day dedicated to kids calling me Uncle Paul and cross crossing between being a judge at a small case court handling toy disputes, a police man shouting “STOP IT!” at 10 minute intervals or less, being a face painter and dj.
Wow! That’s a lot. That however was me on my son’s 2nd birthday.
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Me and my son on his 2nd Birthday

I guess that’s why I wear the Superman shirt. Aside acting like a Superman in this party job that doesn’t pay cash, the real reason for multitasking and providing fun memories and love to kids is because of hope. Funny enough hope is the meaning behind the Superman symbol and not the letter “S” for Superman.
It’s all about hope. The hope that love will surround our children. The hope that they will remember the love we have for them. Most important is the hope that they focus on what’s important.
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My son’s tractor

Important could mean many things. For my son on his 2nd birthday, important was a green tractor with eye balls that after a year suddenly became his favorite toy and was only interested in driving it on the floor and imitating the engine sound “vroooom!”.
 
He could not be bothered about losing at musical chairs neither was he interested in cutting his cake. That’s why when the wind was against us when lighting the twenty four plus one candle I got him ( I thought blowing candles for the kids will be fun) I just left them in the cake. The birthday boy wasn’t interested in making wishes today.
As I said earlier being Superman for the day ain’t that bad when you are dealing with a son like mine. As long as it’s less than 20 kids, a few kid loving adults around and a couple of cute babies to play with I am down. Ice cream helps a lot too. Nothing gets children in a logo logo line like ice cream.
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He Came In 30th So What?

Pursuing your passion is not a journey for the faint hearted. Your definition of success as a goal and you sticking to it can end that journey or see you through it. There are aspects of spirituality, discipline, life etc that come into play but today I want to focus on the importance on not giving up.
I was on twitter and saw tweets from different sources on Akwasi Frimpong’s performance at the olympics. Some sources dwelled on the fact that he underperformed because he had the lowest score.
Akwasi Frimpong is Ghana’s first skeleton Olympic athlete. Wikipedia defines the skeleton sport as:
a winter sliding sport in which a person rides a small sled, known as a skeleton bobsled, down a frozen track while lying face down. Unlike other sliding sports of bobsleigh and luge, the race always involves single riders. 
It would be awesome if Akwasi came out first or top three but he didn’t. Are we saying that pursuing your dream and seeing it through regardless of not achieving your goals is not good enough?
I resent that!
It is that attitude that dampens our spirit to explore and take risks.
Akwasi has probably sacrificed time and resources all in an effort to out Ghana on the map. The least we can do is be supportive.
Ghana needs more people especially the youth and younger to see Akwasi’s effort as a reason to take risks and pursue their passions. Coming out tops is good but more important in my opinion are the lessons learnt on that journey. 
He came out 30th so what? 
His name will not have been written in history if he didn’t sacrifice time and resources to pursue his dream. Because of Akwasi a young minority will be empowered to believe that they can make it in winter sports regardless of their environment. 
I relate a lot to Akwasi because as an artist I feel I am pursuing my passion as well. It is not as rewarding but I have dream to be the greatest Spoken Word Artist and Rapper and I will continue to pursue it.
Yesterday via twitter I received a tweet from a fan asking to buy my album WTF? that I released last year. We communicated privately and in minutes he had made a purchase. He informed me through conversation that he saw me perform “Gidigidi” at Yoyo Tinz shrine at Chalewote Festival 2017, James Town, Ghana and had been thinking about the track since.
I was humbled! 
Last year was stressful for me as an artist. I had challenges in creating and promoting my album. I sold a few copies but after September 2017 things kind of took a down turn. I did not give up but I needed time to find myself and strategize towards making progress. 
So yesterday’s tweet was a beautiful gift of encouragement that made me feel appreciated. I wish it was always like this but I appreciate the little steps of progress.
I feel Akwasi needs encouragement like the one I received yesterday. Let him know via social media that he is beacon of hope. It lifts the spirit in a special way. Do it because you understand what it means to have encouragement.
I urge you all to encourage anyone who is pushing or pursuing their dream. Criticism is all good but all of us need encouragement to make it. So lets be proud of our own and encourage all to reach for the stars.
Akwasi came in 30th but if he hadn’t participated he would have been last. He did not give up and saw himself all the way through. I believe he has picked up valuable lessons to improve on his performance in the next olympics. In my eyes he is a hero keeping it One Hondred!