The sun was at its maximum and was glaring angrily at the fifty two thousand people sitting impatiently in the stands. They were waiting for something to begin. Something that brought tears of joy in their eyes. Something that made their throats dry but they didn’t care. Something that gave them butterflies (actually birds) in their stomachs.
They were waiting for twenty two players to come out so they could cheer them on.
It was the soccer world cup final of twenty ten.
Now these fans were so stressed out. Imagine what the players were feeling. Brazil versus Argentina. A match between the two greatest teams in the world. A match between twenty two of the greatest players in the world. Lionel Messi. Paulo Dybala. Thiago Silva. David Luiz. Neymar.
At nineteen years of age, this was Neymar’s first world cup and first world cup final. Neymar was sweating madly, not because of the sun, no. They were sitting in a fully air conditioned room. He was nervous. All his teammates had told him not to be nervous. Youre going to do fine. Its going to be okay but how could he not be nervous.
“What if we lose? What if I miss a goal? What if I get injured and cant play? What if I embarrass myself.” These were all the thoughts going through Neymars head. But then he thought…
“What have I done to get here?”
Soccer was his passion, his life, his best friend! Never as a child had he thought that he would one day be playing for Brazil, why he hadn’t even thought he would be this rich. And he was thankful for each and every think had got because of sacrificing so much of his hard work. Neymar answered his own questions.
So what if we lose? We made it all the way to the world cup final. If we lose, we’ll lose in the best way possible. So what if I miss the goal? Brush it off and score an even spectacular one. I’ll get the chance to experience the world cup. And if I embarrass myself? It doesn’t matter. All I’ve got to do is focus on the game, not the people.
With these inspirational thoughts, Neymar walked out of the changing rooms into the stadium feeling a great deal more confident. He sang the Brazilian national and anthem and felt that playing as a team is what really matter.
Playing as a family is what matters.
The whistle blew. The match started. In the first forty five minutes of the game, nothing happened. Chances were made but no one scored. It was becoming very frustrating.
The referee blew the whistle again and the second half started. Nobody scored. Both the teams were just playing to good (or too bad maybe?)
But just when ten minutes of the game were left, Neymar was brought down in the penalty area. Penalty to Brazil. And guess who was going to take it? Neymar.
Neymar stood behind the ball, waiting for the whistle to be blown. The whistle blew and …
Neymar was devastated. This had been their chance. His chance for Brazil. Sighs of relief and frustration could be heard from the fans.
Two minutes to go and Neymar saw a chance. He dribbled his way past the Argentine defenders and shot in the top left corner.
He had scored and they had won. He had won.
And while holding the trophy in his hands with his team, with tears of joy streaming down his face, he thought “ this trophy wasn’t his prize. Winning for his team and family and getting this level in his career after all that hard work was his prize!