Throwback: (Delusions of) Happily Ever After

7 Oct

I found this on my computer today.

I had written it immediately after Ghana was eliminated from its bid for the World Cup.  I simply didn’t have the heart to finish it then.

The world was still sore.

Months later, the sting is less biting.  For me, anyway. 

And in hindsight, many of the concepts and notions that rose from this event are yet true.  Towards the end of the piece, I question the role of hope.

In Greek mythology, hope was listed amongst the ills of the world, one of the horrors released when Pandora opened that damned box.  For me, the verdict is still out.  We need it to live yet despise it when time reveals it vain.

It would have been the perfect story.  Team and after team from sub-saharan Africa eliminated until one remained: Ghana’s Black Stars.  Rallying behind the team, a whole continent known for warring and dissent is united in its hopes and prayers for the Ghanaian team’s success. Against all odds, the team takes home the World Cup, symbolizing much more than a winning game ever had before; it symbolizes the shifting of fortunes and fate for a continent quite familiar with woe and heartbreak.

Of course, that wasn’t the case. Instead, in the final minute of the Black Stars’ game with Uruguay, a game-winning goal was batted out of the net—surmising a penalty for Uruguay, removing the prospects of the batting contestant’s playing next game and leaving victory or defeat for the Black Star’s to a final penalty kick, a kick that, as luck would have it, was missed.

An entire continent disillusioned.  The host continent no less.

I was ringing up a customer at the checkout desk when I heard the news.  Amidst mingled words of Spanish, I caught the words “Ghana” and “final minute” but nothing else. “Who won,” I barked at the excited customer.  My face displayed my disappointment at his reply.

Ghana’s win would have been too much like. . .Hollywood, the place where dreams inevitably come true: the underdog team always wins, the good guy always gets the girl and justice prevails.

The comforts of fantasy make reality much harder to bear.  Thus, we willingly shove out money to be wooed with the promise of happily ever after.  But reality doesn’t happen in parts.  There are no sequels, no to be continueds.  One must begin all over again the next day whether the day before was triumphant or dismal.

The only thing that remains after the film is over and the credits have rolled, is the hope that only slight bit of the magic will translate into reality.

 According to Greek mythology, in Pandora’s Box, amidst the ills and diseases and plagues released was hope.  Many questioned the meaning of its presence. Was hope really an ill simply wrapped in the mask of benevolence?  Something to taunt humans with dreams of better and the desire for more, despite reason?   Something, when left unanswered, to lead beings into fits of disillusionment and despair.

Hope is a double-edged sword.

While it often leads to disappointment, hope is  also the thing that keeps us going from day to day, that makes our humdrum realities tolerable. That makes a continent wrecked by despair believe that its Black Stars could win.

Hope that tells us that there’s always next year.

And makes us realize the beauty of the team’s  accomplishment this time around.

There is still a lot to celebrate.  The long-awaited presence of the World Cup in Africa.  The World Cup is described as the biggest marketing opportunity ever for a country given the vast fanbase.  Its mere presence drew people to South Africa that would never considering visiting.  Yet hope that the opportunity leads to business investment. That it improves the perception of South Africa and many other African countries in the world stage.

Until next time. . .


3 Responses to “Throwback: (Delusions of) Happily Ever After”

  1. M.Waqas December 27, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    Nice.. Thankyou…


  2. Santanu Chacraverti January 13, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    The Pandora’s Box picture is excellent. Could I use the picture in a not-for-profit environmental publication?


    • lcooksmarketer1 January 17, 2011 at 7:07 am #

      Hi. I grabbed the image from Google. You would have to ask the original uploader for the rights. Good luck!


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