March 01, 2009

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I had just finished the first of two personal development sessions that I was leading, Scoring Your DREAM Goal, with a group of participating teams at the 6th Homeless World Cup tournament in early December 2008 in Melbourne Australia. The cacophony of the team’s voices and the diversity of the languages being spoken at the break of the session reverberated beautifully throughout the lecture space that unquestionably qualifies as a “design marvel”—the BMW Edge Center at Federation Square.

Amid the din of the excited voices of the players still getting familiar with their surroundings in-the-land-downundah, I was having a conversation with Kat Byles, Media Director for the HWC about the next session. A man approached me and greeted me with a broad confident smile, “Hello, I’m Alex!” I politely said hello back to him and then he said his greeting once more to be certain that I heard him correctly, “Hello, I’m Alex!” As I studied him closely, I realized that he looked quite familiar to me but, I couldn’t figure out how I knew him—each year at the HWC there are over 500 players present and it’s easy to not recognize a face.

He must have noticed my effort to place his name and face so, he provided me with some very clear context when he asked, “Have you seen the film Kicking It?” I have seen the documentary, Kicking It, dozens of times and I’m quite familiar with how it chronicles the journey of five aspiring soccer hopefuls from around the globe, each facing disparate situations such as, kicking a drug addiction, surviving in a war-torn nation, facing abject poverty or dealing with abandonment. Each of them shares their story of how they hope to score the chance to make-the-cut and wear their nation’s uniform/kit at the 3rd annual Homeless World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa. Just like one of those TV crime scene investigation programsâ?¦I quickly pieced together how I knew this man standing proudly in front of me. I exclaimed, “you’re Alex from Kenya!” He beamed and nodded his head affirming my response.

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