Wednesday, August 27, 2008

With Love From China

Foreword:

Hello peeps!

As the Beijing 2008 Olympics wound down on Sunday it was no news that Team Nigeria made an appearance (finally!) on the medals table with one silver medal (not eleven as some people like to imagine) and three bronze.
My total ignorance of sports journalism aside, the next couple of posts represent my due reportage on the concluding events of the Olympics all the way from China, brought to you live from my bedroom as witnessed on a 14-inch colour TV:

Lawd Have Messi!
Despite the 5:00 AM kick-off time for the finals of the Olympic football event, many Nigerians (and Argentines too) woke earlier than usual to watch as the Dream Team IV lost by a lone goal suffering defeat at the hands of the boys in white and blue who clinched the Olympic gold medal in the football event.

Here are my reports as faithfully recorded during the Final match:

4:54 AM, Saturday 23rd August
It’s early hours on Saturday the 23rd of August in the year of our Lord 2008 and like a sizeable number of the Nigerian population I’m wide awake. In a few minutes from now, OUR boys, the Under-23 national football team will be filling out for the Finals.

I must admit, for someone who doesn’t watch much football, I’m rather nervous, almost as if I’m playing in the team myself. My tummy seems to be acting up but I’m ignoring the stupid thing. PHCN has been kind with the power, NTA opened on time and their broadcast signals look strong, Faze’s “Kolomental” is bumping on my earphones (I’ve been making free night calls since 3 AM, listening to music since 4 AM all in a bid to stay awake) and I’m wondering if the song doesn’t mirror my current mental state. I am very, very surprised at myself. I mean, I HARDLY watch football!

On the TV, the marketers are having a field day with various previously-unseen ads jostling for the few minutes before kick off. Most of them are irritating. The only exception is one that shows a high-heel shod model take on some guys in a football field as she traps, dribbles, parries and scores. Great ad, only I don’t catch the company’s name.

At last! Kick off and I sit back to watch Naija kick Argies ass!

10 minutes later…
Their boys seem to be dominating the field but I have no worries concerning our team’s ability to trounce them. As if to prove me wrong, one of them tries to fake a penalty but sorry, the referee’s too smart for that. Our defence holds strong but the fear of a certain Lionel Messi is still apparent in the air whenever he touches the ball. The Argies get a free kick which, much to my relief - and goalkeeper Ambrose Vanzekin’s - goes sailing over the bar. My stomach again!

20 minutes after that…
The commentators’ remarks on individual players cause me to smile, my only source of humour during the ordeal. One of them observes his colleague’s dilemma on realizing he’d be commenting on the Nigerian match giving that he is green-colour blind. The other talks about substitute Monday James’ interesting name and lack of a club and wonders on which day he was born.

All in all, Nigeria makes 5 goal attempts including a scorcher of a shot by Obinna Nsofor straight at the keeper. The ref too is not spared as another shot cannons off his back. Messi, true to form, fakes a penalty and due to a rule totally unknown to me, the players take a water break after 30 minutes due to the heat.

Three minutes after that, Osaze Odemwingie and Promise Isaac make two attempts at goal that gets my blood rushing very fast. In the melee, I even forget I have a stomach!

Exactly 37 minutes into the match…
PHCN STRIKES! WHAT?!? Inspired by Timaya I yell out, “Dem MAMA!” Temporarily shelving religion for fanaticism, I confine the entire staff of PHCN from the smallest cleaner to the biggest Oga to everlasting life in hellfire. And may Satan never take light there o! Thunder fire them!

Quickly searching for alternatives, I phone my sister many miles away to ask if the goalless score line has changed but she’s asleep! Imagine! Groggily, she gets up to turn on her TV. I start wondering if she comes from Sudan or something… Probably the Darfur area…

Roughly 5: 45 AM
The first half comes to a goalless end (no screams of “Goal!” from the neighbourhood yet, so I instinctively know this) and I’m still perplexed on what to do. Over in a neighbour’s house, his 2-stroke generator has been merrily chugging away since the blackout but I’m not that football crazy to knock on his door. Wouldn’t want to bet if he has a gun or not. Another type of 2-stroke engine kicks up as some adventurous youth gets on his okada to catch the action elsewhere.

My sister calls again to tell me of the goalless situation (which I know anyway) then she gleefully announces - in my own opinion - that PHCN has just struck in her area too! Think quick, I tell myself. What would Double - O - Seven do?

Roughly 6:10 AM
Just when I’m at my wit’s end, I recall my Samsung phone comes equipped with a radio. Foolish me! Plugging in the headset, I quickly scan the airwaves and catch a commentary on Gold 95.5 FM, Ilesha. As usual with radio commentary, the blood level rises even worse as I can’t see the action. Plain torture!

Then by about 6:19 AM, the sad news comes in: Nigeria has gone down by a goal. Almost immediately I feel a heavy dose of dread as I instinctively know we’ve lost the match.

The Rest of the Match…
Downcast, I prepare for work though with an ear still turned optimistically in the direction of the phone radio. Sadly, there is no good news, no redemption song to tell me we have equalized. Another attempt at goal for us! Soap in my eye, I beat Usain Bolt’s 100 metre record as dash out of the bathroom only to have my hopes dashed as the ball is saved yet again by the keeper.

As a distraction, I share a brief moment of elation as I marvel at the ease in which I just broke a world sprint record. Then I realize the distance I covered isn’t up to a hundred metres. Maybe next time…

At the End of the Match…
We win the silver medal! Though slightly disappointed, I realize it’s no use crying over losing the gold. Half full is better than half empty, if you catch my drift. On my way to work I swear, those Argies will see pepper come London 2012. By then Team Nigeria will show the world. We will surely win 8 gold medals.

The whisper of my inner voice comes clearly despite the din of the Suzuki Rascal bus conveying me to work. Eight gold medals? The chances of that are almost the same as me becoming the President of Nigeria…

2 comments:

Omo calabar. said...

yeahi do agree. Silver is definitely better than nothing. Love ur blog.

Naughty Eyes said...

@ Omo Calabar: Thanks Omo! I don't think anyone has ever used the term "love" before when referring to my blog. About to check out your own stuff myself...