I know that everyone is engrossed in watching the World Cup – I myself have Sweden in our Impact Network competition (tough game yesterday!).
Lionel Messi is making waves again this year – after first announcing his retirement two years ago, he changed his mind and led his country (Argentina) to qualify for the World Cup this year! Messi was born in Rosario, Argentina to humble beginnings – his father was a factory steel worker, and his mother was a part-time cleaner. He played football from a very young age – at around five he started playing at a local club coached by his father, and became part of a practically undefeated local team.
Then, at 11, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency – a medical condition caused by problems in the pituitary gland, which often leads to growth failure. He was the size of most 8-9 year olds at the time. The director of Futbol Club Barcelona had heard about Messi’s talent, auditioned him, and offered to pay his medical bills on the condition that he moved to Spain. A decade later, he had received Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. He’s commonly ranked as the best player in the world, and rated by some as the greatest of all time.
It strikes me just how easy it would have been for Messi and his family to give up on his dream. When he was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency, he and his family could have just resolved that he would play football recreationally. When his family could not afford the treatment, they could have stopped there. When he started playing for Futbol Club Barcelona, there were times where he was nearly released from the club because of financial constraints. At every bend, Messi came across obstacles, and he and his family found ways to overcome them. In short – they never gave up. And we have to live by that credo – when we are faced with students that are struggling in certain subjects, when we have teachers that we need to improve, when we are faced with complications in our classrooms – it’s up to us to persevere. It’s up to us to never give up on our students and communities.
If you’re interested – I was entertained by these ads while looking into Messi’s story a bit more!