Since his childhood days, Amir had lived alone with his grandpa and the two of
them shared a very special relationship. They were always seen together and
seemed inseparable. Both of them had a common passion - football.
Amir was the
smallest of the class when he entered secondary school. Although he loved
football, he was only selected as a reserve player as he was not good enough and
was also considered too short. He was always sitting on the substitute's bench
watching the game. However, as a determined person, Amir always hoped he would
be given a chance to play when he became a senior.
All through secondary school he came early for all the games, but remained a
substitute throughout the five years. Amir was very envious of the other players
who were all very much better than he. In his free time, Amir would be watching
videos of great football matches to improve his skills. Determined to become a
better player, he asked for extra tips from his coach. Not wanting to disappoint
him, the coach agreed but knew it would not make any difference. Using the tips
he had learnt, he practised regularly. His faithful grandpa would be in the
stands, always with words of encouragement for him. The coach and his teammates
were very impressed with his grandpa.
When Amir went to college, he decided to try out for the football team there.
Everyone was sure he would not be selected, but he proved them wrong. He made
the team but again as a reserve. The coach admitted that he kept Amir on the
reserve list because he had always put his heart and soul into every practice.
Besides, his dedication inspired the rest of his team. The news that he had been
selected thrilled him so much that he rushed to the nearest telephone to call
his grandpa. The old man was equally excited. Each time Amir's team played, he
made it a point to be there. The persistent young athlete never missed practice
during his four years at college but still he never got to play in any matches.
It was the end of his senior football season and, as he trotted onto the
practice field shortly before a match, the coach met him with a message. Amir
read the note and he turned pale. Swallowing hard, he mumbled to his coach, "My
grandpa ... died this morning. Is it all right if I miss practice today?"
The coach put his arm gently around his shoulders and said, "Take the rest of
the week off, son. And don't even plan to come back to the game on Saturday.
Saturday arrived, and the game was not going too well. In the second half,
when the team was two goals behind, a silent young man quietly slipped into the
changing room and put on his football gear. As he ran onto the sidelines, the
coach and his players were astounded to see their faithful teammate back so soon
after his grandpa's death.
A whistle sounded. A player was injured and had to be taken off the field. A
substitute was needed. Amir boldly approached the coach. "Coach, please let me
play. I have just got to play today," Amir pleaded.
The coach pretended not to hear him. There was no way he wanted his worst
player in such an important game. But Amir persisted and, finally feeling sorry
for him, the coach gave in. "All right," he said. "You can go on."
Before long, the coach, the players and the spectators could not believe
their eyes. This unknown little reserve, who had never played in the team
before, was doing everything right. The opposing team could not stop him. His
team began to triumph. The score was soon tied at 2-2. In the closing seconds of
the game, Amir took control of the ball and raced past three defenders. The
cheering was thunderous. Amir had scored the winning goal! The fans were
overjoyed. His teammates hoisted him onto their shoulders. It was indeed a sweet
victory for Amir.
Finally, after the team had showered and left the changing room, the coach
noticed Amir sitting quietly in the corner all alone. Approaching him, the coach
patted his shoulders and said, "Amir, I can't believe it. You were fantastic!
How did you do it?"
Amir looked at the coach and with tears in his eyes said, "Well, you knew my
grandpa died, but did you know that he was blind?" He swallowed hard and forced
a smile. "Grandpa came to all my games, but today was the first time he could
see me play, and I wanted to show him I could do it!"