My son Jeremy loves soccer. No, on second thought, he is a soccer fanatic! In fact, his passion for the players and the game has made me a fan from his sheer enthusiasm. Consequently, when the Woodward family was discussing potential vacation spots, Barcelona was always Jeremy’s request. His perseverance paid off and we planned a vacation to Barcelona to watch a live “football” game. Looking at the schedule, we realized the best game to watch would be Barcelona against AC Milan the week before our kids scheduled spring break. However, since our teenagers are all doing great in school, we talked with the school and were off to Europe.
Shortly after checking into our hotel, we were notified that the Barcelona team would be staying at the same hotel! Jeremy, with his jerseys in hand, parked himself in the lobby, along with his siblings and Laurie, for nearly eight hours to see the players up close. Thankfully, the team did enter the hotel and a couple of players signed Jeremy’s jersey. Proudly displaying his signatures, Jeremy stated that signing this jersey would certainly help the players on game-day. I wasn’t sure how he thought that, but didn’t say anything at the time.
Tuesday could not arrive fast enough as Jeremy was up, showered, and dressed by 7:30 am to get breakfast, hoping to see more players downstairs. (This soccer stuff is cutting into my vacation sleep! ) When we left for the Camp Nou stadium, Jeremy, and the other kids, were on cloud 9. The mass of humanity and the intensity at the football game were beyond my wildest expectations. I have never seen so many fanatics (I say that with all respect) in one place at one time. The fans had songs, cheers, and taunts, that erupted intermittently during the game as if on queue, even though there was no monitor telling them when or what to cheer.
Barcelona had lost to AC Milan several weeks back and needed to not only win, but win by at least two in order to advance. The pressure was on, but the best teams and best leaders always respond well to pressure. Barcelona did not disappoint. Within the first seven minutes Messi made a spectacular give and go pass and break to the net, sending a rocket through the outstretched arms of the goalie to score. The crowd (over 94,000 strong) exploded and the Woodward family vacation was shaping up nicely. Later, another goal from Messi and Barcelona never looked back, winning 4-0 before the rowdiest crowd at a sporting event ever.
Interestingly, Jordi Alba, one of the players that signed Jeremy’s jersey, scored a goal just as Jeremy had predicted. One of the Biblical principles taught to our kids over the years is that you reap what you sow in life. Jordi sowed an act of kindness when he signed Jeremy’s jersey and he reaped a reward the next day. (No one can guarantee the reap and reward process will occur so quickly, we hope, however, that you will sow acts of kindness anyway since it is the right thing to do. ) At any rate, Jordi’s kind actions made a young man’s dream come true and for that I am thankful to our God above lining up all the pieces and to Jordi for sowing good seeds.
Well, enough writing for now, I have to get ready to go to the City Museum and see one of the best-kept ancient Roman cities unearthed under modern Barcelona. The LIFE Business is allowing so many people to chase and capture their dreams. I hope everyone is planting good seeds into others people’s lives on faith that over time people reap what they sow.