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!

A Review of "The Comeback"

Our elders have a saying:
“Dont call a spade a spoon if it is used in feeding cattle”
This is exemplary of the humorous wisdom rendered by Jojo, Uncle Ebo Whyte’s main character in his latest play titled “The Comeback” which I had the opportunity to preview last Wednesday 30th August, 2017.
“The Comeback” is a play about a successful uneducated Ghanaian Italian league soccer player, Jojo, who returns home to realize that his investments have been squandered by his brother.
My first Ebo Whyte in 2015 left me unimpressed. The script lacked depth, had an overuse of singing and jokes that in my opinion often fell flat.
Despite my past sentiments on Uncle Ebo Whyte’s work, I went in to watch this play in the hope that my issues from the past will have been rectified. 
Alas, my past issues were still visible. I often found myself sighing whenever there was a performance involving song. To be fair, the songs were much shorter but still rubbed me the wrong way.
Overuse of Singing
The problem with singing or use of song within plays boils down to choice. Many of the songs used within the play were unnecessary and added no value to the message or context.
One excellent use of song within the play was the use of Ghanaian rapper EL’s song “Kaalu” in a scene where coach arrived in the nick of time to prevent Jojo from assassinating his brother. 
It was perfectly placed to deliver laughter. I laughed effortlessly and was impressed with the idea. If all songs were placed in a similar manner I would be singing a different tune about Uncle Ebo Whyte’s plays today.
Characters

The choice of the characters in this play was a perfect recipe for humor. Coach for instance was my favorite character. He is a professional coach who enjoys life, likes to have a good time and calls a spade a spade as is evident in his commentary of issues at the family table.
Jojo’s mother, brother and Uncle were also great characters. The characters with the exception of Jojo were developed well.
I had issues with Jojos character. Jojo was the main character of the play. The acting was spot on but certain aspects of his character did not contribute to the success of the production.
Jojo’s illiteracy and wisdom

Often within the play, Jojo will blurt out some wisdom attributed to his elders. This happened so often that I looked forward to his so called words of wisdom. 
The problem was that majority of these quotes were either not funny, made no sense nor contributed to the discussion within the play at the time. 
More thought should have gone into these quotes to have made the play a hit. I feel each time Jojo made reference to his elders was an opportunity to make the audience laugh and this opportunity was not utilized efficiently.
Jojo as mentioned earlier appears to be uneducated. Thus, his speech is wired with bad grammar. This provided the audience with a lot of humor and was a bit excessive. In the same vein as the quotes, his lines could have been scripted better. 
A great example of this is in the early scenes of the play where we see Jojo return from his travels and realizes that his investments have been squandered. 
“wait, wait, wait….halftime, halftime”
These were Jojos words. The use of soccer jargon to express himself was effective in delivering a joke as well as expressing his frustration.
As a soccer player I felt such jargon should have been used more in his conversation to showcase his dependency and passion for on soccer as a livelihood.
That Weird Dance Scene
Now I am not sure what the idea of Agnes, the daughter of Coach and her fiance dance arguing was about. 
I always look out for something unexpected or surprising but this was beyond anything I my mind could create and till date I am not sure how to feel about it.
It was weird, confusing and hilarious. I laughed so hard that I believe the cameras took a shot of my laughter; and as I laughed I kept looking for something to justify this weirdness and came up empty handed. 
Now that scene could have worked if Agnes for instance was introduced earlier as a dance enthusiast and her fiance and her have been seen practicing a wedding dance of sorts. 
The dance however was a distraction from the main plot and totally unnecessary.
Stage Screen
Before concluding I want to comment on the screens used on stage as backgrounds.
I liked the idea of screens being used as backgrounds. The opportunity and convenience it presents allows a variety of scenes to be crafted. 
My favorite background was the gym background. The visuals created the ambience of a gym. Though I kept wondering what a dining table was doing within a gym premises.
The household of Jojos mother however had a background that looked animated than realistic. Which I thought wasn’t good enough. 
Also there was tv screen within the background in loop showcasing a channel that I felt was distracting and again, unnecessary as it failed to contribute to the story. 
If that was an attempt at product placement it should be reviewed for future productions.
Conclusion 
This play was far better than the one I watched some years back. Though I haven’t elaborated on all my issues with “The Comeback”, the play shows that the production house of Uncel Ebo Whyte is improving. 
Generally people loved the play and found it humorous. Uncle Ebo definitely understands what Ghanaians find funny. It just needs polishing to appeal not only to Ghanaians but others nationals as well as that can see his work being adapted in other countries.
Then again, a production house looking at producing a play every quarter will be faced with many challenges and for that I say the play went well despite my issues with it.
That however, should not be the case. The plays must strive for a good rating at all times and if that means making changes to time or staff that help in the content then it must be done to ensure that quality is maintained.
Bear in mind that going to the cinema is way less than watching an Ebo Whyte play. So for me quality should not be compromised as other entertainment options are available.
This play gives me hope for future productions and I look forward to the growth of the production house. 
Keep it One Hondred!