About a Ball
Last year, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Bologna, Italy in the summer. Walking the streets of Bologna after training at the Factory was super cool. Families in the park, old folks playing chess, scooters zooming around and yes… kids playing soccer in the street. One of the first things I noticed as I came across a neighborhood pick up game was that the ball was completely worn out. You could see the cords in the ball as the stitching was coming out of it.
My heart told me what I had to do. I had to get these kids a soccer ball. I walked all over Borgo Panigale and came up empty handed. The one soccer store in the town had been closed so the business could move downtown. Miles on my feet, aching legs and no soccer ball… my week came to an end and I flew home.
This year, I managed to pick up a Coca-Cola Brasil 2014 Soccer Ball – cheap. I held onto it and saved it for the trip to Italy. Packed in my luggage it made it — not a blemish on it. I left it out in the room.
After the first day of training, I returned to my hotel room to see it fully serviced, but the ball in a different location. Day 2 – the ball once again was moved, like me and housekeeping are on the pitch. Wednesday, things took a turn for the worse. A week before Christmas I guess the shiny new ball was too much to leave alone. It disappeared. I was crushed. I wrote a letter to housekeeping about why I had brought the ball and asked that IF THEY FOUND THE BALL, could they please make sure a kid in the neighborhood got it to play with the neighbor kids this summer.
Friday was a long day at the factory finishing up a big day of training and meetings. I trudged up to my room in the hotel, glad the week was over and looking forward to my Venice train journey the following day. Bam!! There’s the ball!
I wrote a second letter – this time in Italian and asked the desk staff to forward the ball to the kids down the block. The managers at the factory think its hilarious. I may very well be the first American to bring a soccer ball to Italy — at least in their minds.
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