How Etche at Christmas time taught me lessons of life

PictureChima Nwangwu in an interview session with Benson Clement of Radio Nigeria

By Lisetta Woluchem
No matter how little or trivial your achievements might be, always strive to leave your footprints on the sands of time.
It’s always best to put our abilities to good use irrespective of our disabilities. What makes you different isn’t shying away from stardom because something tragic happened, but making your way to the top even if it means you have to crawl.
OK, we all know it’s the holiday season and this period gives birth to lots of festivities, permit me to say rare festivities.
Some of these events occur only once in a year (in December), and these are events that people look forward to.
For some, the end game of these festivities is a determinant factor of how the New Year would start, or turn out.
While for some, these festivities make the end of the year a memorable one. But either way, this period is one lots of people look forward to.
In the spirit of the season, I had an opportunity to visit Etche, a community in Rivers state of Nigeria for the Etche Sports Festival.
I gathered that this sports festival was first held in 2015, and this year is its second edition slated for 18th December – 1st January 2017.
The festival was organised by Dr Uzoma Nwankwo, a native of Etche; good thing he’s doing for his people if you ask me.
On the 23rd of December, Mr China Acheru (Nigeria’s biggest and finest sports journalist), Mr. Damiete Tonte, Mr. Benson Clement (a couple of PH’s finest sports journalists) and myself arrived at the Okomoko / Egwi play ground in Etche where the games were held.
On our arrival, one football match was almost ending. So we sat down and waited for the next match to commence, which wasn’t for very long. This next game was between Ulakwo FC and United Brothers.
Players of both teams filed out to be inspected by the referee before games commenced.
Something caught my attention before the first whistle was heard. I noticed that one of the players had just one hand. The left from the forearm had been amputated.
This was going to be interesting. Before now, I thought the match was not going to be interesting so I resolved to just disturb the people I came with.
But after what I saw, I decide to pay close attention to the match, especially to the player.
The first whistle had been blown and the players had started digging it out. An interesting watch I must say. My eyes didn’t leave that player.
Please don’t get me wrong, despite being handicapped; he was a good player, probably one of the best on the pitch that day.
People say you need both hands for balance while running, but that guy made me think otherwise.
The games ended 3-1against Ulakwu FC, but the only goal they scored was by Chima Nwagwu, the handicapped.
I wasn’t the only one on the field that was intrigued by this player.
At the end of the match, Benson Clement conducted interviews, first with the coaches, then with this player who by this time, had stolen my heart.
He introduced himself as Chima Nwagwu and during the course of the interview, he disclosed that while playing football as a grown child, he had an accident.
He went for surgery, but the surgery went wrong and the hand had to be amputated.
This got me thinking. Most humans would turn their backs on things that brought them pain, or left scars, but here was this young man, who having lost his hand, permit me to say to football, was still playing.
And he was playing so well.
Life is so full of ironies. Another irony is rewriting life’s irony to work in your favour irrespective of what life throws at you, choose to pick up the pieces of your life and move on.
Choose to rise like the break of dawn. And choose to steal hearts irrespective of your handicaps and disabilities.
This is what life taught me after my visit to Etche to watch a football match.


Chima Nwangwu and the author of this piece

0 thoughts on “How Etche at Christmas time taught me lessons of life

  1. No matter how life is difficult but Christmas is the best event in which people know about their religion. I do not know what to say on this matter because lots of the words come in my mind and I enable to express my feeling. It is a beautiful article.

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