Shoulder Ride

Hi. I’m sure it’s a bit late to wish you a happy new year now. Well, I’ll say it all the same. Happy New Year. Trust it’s been great so far? Have to apologize (again) for how long it’s been since the last post. I’ve never had it as crazy as it’s been since the year turned.
A lot’s been happening. Stuff to make one reconsider what’s really important. I’ve had to constantly remind myself that, eventually, who we are aligns with what we do. That’s about all the conviction that keeps me away from the seemingly lucrative allure of negativity.
Before we get on to business, lemme just give you some gist from the time I’ve been away *winx*.
*Finally got tired of Nokia’s clowning about; got myself a (low-budget) droid. Colleague slammed it on the desk two days after; said he was ‘stress-testing’ it. He’s (the colleague) still alive, tho.
*Started my most audacious project yet. Sadly, can’t say too much about it now. Expect details once I cross the point where I’m most tempted to quit.
*I’m back in the choir. Now, I get to rue all the effort I put into ruining my voice.
*Haven’t cut any hair on my head. Trying to remind myself how quickly time flies.
*I met a woman *wide grin*. #NuffSaid
*Quit the soccer team – in spite of how much playing means to me.
I’m really hoping today’s post would be very short. Here goes …
If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants” ~ Isaac Newton
A lady once walked in after a game, as I was cleaning out my soccer cleats. She was a little shocked that I hadn’t put it off for later – seeing how tired I obviously was. She finally caught her breath and asked ‘why’ after a few seconds. It was scarcely the time for long speech; so I kept the answer short. ‘Good point’, she said, tapping me on the back.

At 13, my dad took my bro and I to the zoo. This time, it wasn’t to see the animals; it one to see one animal few have learnt to tame: the future. His approach was a bit laughable – particularly, for someone like me with the attention span of a midget. Amongst many things, he said ‘I lost my dad when I was 12. You’re 13 now’. That caught my ear. His next line, however, made more impact – for the wrong reasons. ‘I want to see my sons become greater than me’. I almost laughed. It was easily the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. How could a human possibly want anybody to be ‘better’ than him? It didn’t make any sense. Still, if a man I respected chose to make a joke, the least I could do was notice. So, I simply nodded. Now, over a decade later, those words make perfect sense.

 Have you ever watched Laila in the ring? Her beauty was usually the first thing people noticed. Her walking towards the ring could easily have been taken as a fashion stunt. I mean, if not for the huge gloves and giant shorts, she would have passed for a model. Make no mistakes, though – the woman could punch a hole through a steel wall. She was as graceful outside the ring as she was ferocious in it.

 One could almost feel pity for the women she pummeled on her way to glory. The painful part for supporters (and trainers) of her opponents was how easy she made it look. It was rare for anyone to leave Laila ruffled. No one would notice if she walked right out of the ring onto a Paris catwalk. Funny thing: she only had three years of training before turning pro.

 Putting that in perspective, Tiger Woods’ dad had been training him to be a pro golfer since he was 4. Michael Jackson also started grooming for the big stage aged just 4. Even Michael Phelps, the world’s most decorated Olympian, started at age seven. So, there’s no telling the importance of an early start. In fact, statistically, there are some sports (and endeavours) one could never make it in without an early start.

 That’s why Laila’s case was all the more peculiar. She chose pro boxing at 18, made her debut at 21 – but was still a marvel. By age 26 when she faced Christy Martin (whom she had watched and supported since she was 15), it wasn’t clear who looked up to who. She knocked Christy about like it was a training session, re-shaped her face – and eventually scored the KO. At 5’ 10’’ and 72kg, Laila, clearly, was not the biggest of fighters. So, there had to be more to her than met the eye – more so as she retired undefeated with three unified titles.

 I used to love watching Thursday night wrestling as a kid; usually in the company of Tsylar, my bro and both sets of parents. We were always unanimous in rooting against the bigger guys – who sometimes had to ‘fight’ opponents half their size. Imagine a Yokozuna going up against a Bret Hart – or a Big Show against a Rey Mysterio. The unfair advantage just didn’t sit well with us. So, we all naturally went with the smaller guys – no matter how ill-prepared they looked.

 Now, I look back and wonder if there was any justice in such prejudice. Were the big guys really to blame for having such massive bodies? Was it their fault that their opponents were tiny? They obviously didn’t choose the genes that weaved their bodies. All they knew was: the problem (or human) had to be pretty large to pose a real threat. Such is the way of giants.

 The say the world is small when you ride on the shoulder of giants. The obstacles that were once definitive now only exist ‘for your information’. Challenges that once took us forever to figure out would now be grateful if they got a glance of acknowledgement. At that height, our heads are literally in the clouds and heaven sings direct in our ears.

 The people who still wondered where Laila got her punching prowess from were the ones who didn’t know that her father was the great Muhammad Ali. So, when she put in 3 (short) years of training before turning pro, it effectively counted as 25. That’s all her father’s active years plus a little effort of her own. Now, imagine the experience of 25 years sealed in a body blessed with such youth! Still wondering how it came easy to her?

 But,please, let’s not get carried away here; Laila’s prowess, bright as it was, is not the morale of this post. The real essence, which was my reply to the young lady’s question is this: “We should never forget the ones that keep us on our feet”.

 It took Ali getting parkinson’s to pave the path of ease for Laila. Paulo Maldini’s father refused to retire until his son was old enough to take over. Theo Walcott’s dad quit his job to go support his son. My boss frequently risks his reputation to make me look good. He’d say ‘the boy can handle it’ and then text me all I need to know before the managers reach my desk. What if I don’t get the texts? What if I don’t understand? What if I still botch things up in spite of his efforts? And, who says I have to look good? It doesn’t affect his worth in anyway. Yet, he still does it – ALWAYS!

 Sometimes, our ‘giants’ go through mire; sometimes, they have it tough. Sometimes, those shoulders we ride on ache from the weight of our demands – still, they gladly pay the price to keep us going. It’ll be nice to act like their efforts are worth something.

This post was inspired by, among many other things, shoes. The link shows you a few of mine. Please use the comments box if you wanna share something about a giant that paid a price to get you where you are. I’ve got a really long list – but such details would just make this post unbearably long.

Big #ShoutOut to the Super Eagles and all who supported them (before and after)! #TeamNigeria

Have a great val’s.


This entry was posted in Giants, Gratitude, Laila Ali, Muhammad Ali, Negativity, Paolo Maldini, Super Eagles, TeamNigeria, Theo Walcott, Valentine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Shoulder Ride

  1. no1fan says:

    Happy new yearOfcourse there are long lists of giants that helped one to where we are today, I can only be grateful for them! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Good one blood!! First time I'll ever comment but dude you are an inspiration

  3. 'Seun Alade says:

    This is a call to pay homage to the ones who went ahead of us, the ones who made the sacrifices, the ones who 'poured cold water on the ground' to give us smooth sail. I recently heard Bishop Oyedepo talk about Wigglesworth, Hagin and himself, he believes the baton was passed in that order, hence the seemingly easy way he operates in his office as an apostle of faith.Great call, brother. Another lovely piece.

  4. misstik says:

    4th person to comment *sigh* and @792b9da89bb79b39dea1a011a8a322a7:disqus had to comment before me. @ least I get to be the first to comment on the first part of the post. The other posters be forming like they didn't see it. hmmph.No, I am not wishing you happy new year. You may hug the pillow now and play any of Adele's song.First of all, How could you leave Nokia?!!!. amean, like seriously, you're a traitor..I refuse to believe you were auditioned by the choir director (¬_¬). Seriously, you? In the choir?. can't fathom it.Secondly (or thirdly). *clears throat* when shall the fam meet her?YOU QUIT THE SOCCER TEAM?!!! another thing I refuse to believe.*moving on*A lot of people do put out their necks for us. Parents, siblings, teachers, friends, you name it. Sometimes, we even stick our necks out for others.I think the thing is, how much do we appreciate these giants on whose shoulders we ride? (this does not sound grammatically correct *shrugs*.)Appreciation is key in everything we do. Appreciating them makes them want to do even more for us.*looks at coins. looks up and down. drops 1 kobo in offering basket*

  5. dunnieK says:

    ‘stress-testing’?? WTH is stress-testing? Looool. Anyone tries that wit my already dead fone, I doubt he'll live to apologize. Lovely piece. Pls don't take too long b4 u write anoda piece. I wldnt accept any excuses.

  6. Pearl-eyes says:

    Good one as always, keep it up

  7. Imisi says:

    Thank you, bro. (Y)

  8. Imisi says:

    Hahaha! Thank you, darl. I will do all within my power to ensure it doesn't happen again! #NoExcuses!

  9. Imisi says:

    Excellent analogy, bro!Thanx and #GodBless

  10. Imisi says:

    Thank you, dear!

  11. Imisi says:

    LMAO. You this geh, you wee not kee somebori!We all know how ridiculous my voice is. So, there was no audition. But, as is often the case, duty called and someone had to answer. I'm sure the role will grow on me; at least, it keeps my 'rock-band' dreams alive. *grins*You mean the (blog-)fam? Soon *winx*Even I can't believe I quit the team. Sometimes, we find the strength to do the impossible.You hit the point: Appreciation! Appreciation!! Appreciation!!!#GodBless

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