What’s it Worth?
18 August 2007
Everything has its price. For some things the price is in monetary terms. For others, it could be an investment in time. The price all of you pay to send soccer balls to us here in this foreign land is so wonderful that all I can ever do to repay you is to keep writing and telling more stories of the happenings of Operation Soccer Chopper.
Allow me to indulge…
There is a cost for dropping soccer balls to the kids of Afghanistan. So far the cost has been minimal and with no danger to the kids below. However, just to keep the record straight I would like to post the following tally on the things that have been hit with a falling soccer ball.
1 Toyota Corolla
Please don’t be alarmed. The Toyota is doing fine and you can hardly notice the ball print on the hood where the ball bounced off of it and landed in an open field. All of the mentioned animals were not hurt but the soccer ball did chase them away and the kids were still able to retrieve the ball. Also, please remember that the list above is a total tally after dropping nearly 1000 soccer balls and volleyballs. It is simply amazing at how many kids are already aware of the soccer drops. In most cases, we pick an area that we want to concentrate on and stay within that small area dropping soccer balls until we run out. Typically, we usually find an open field or we position ourselves along a small section of a wadi where a few kids are playing. In a matter of minutes the area where we start dropping becomes flooded with kids running back and forth trying to catch some of these elusive falling soccer balls. It is a truly wonderful sight to see.
In our latest drop we found a nice large field where there were a handful of kids playing. The kids already knew what we were up to when we flew across the field and immediately started waving their arms at our helicopter. Some were waving, others were kicking their feet up in the air and others were tossing their hats up in the air to get our attention. We made our first pass across the field to assess the situation and decided that we were going to stay here to drop the soccer balls we brought with us. We started our drop and could see that kids were running to the field from every direction. Eventually, there were so many kids running around that we started to spread our coverage of the drop so that more kids get a chance to catch a soccer ball. After we made a few passes across the field we spotted a small group of girls dressed in pretty bright colors. Yellow, orange, pink and green…their dresses were so colorful and stood out so well that we just had to make a drop to them. We passed over them and dropped two soccer balls for them to have. Luckily, there was no one else nearby and the soccer balls landed just a few feet from them.
There were just a few soccer balls left. We circled around to drop the last few in the large open field when we noticed that there were some boys that ran out of a school building waving at us overhead. It appeared that once again we emptied another school with all the commotion we stirred up. Certainly, these boys could use a soccer ball to kick around after studying all day long right? Little did we realize how competitive these boys were; we set the first ball to drop. Their arms were raised up in hopes of catching it and the ball nearly floated down towards them. The ball landed near a small mound of dirt, bounced over and came to rest next to another mound of dirt. There were two boys chasing after it, running so fast that their shoes fell off their feet. The first boy jumped on the ball and wrapped his body around it to protect it from the others that were close by. There must’ve been ten boys chasing after that one ball. Without hesitation, the other boys all jumped on the first one and immediately started to wrestle for the one soccer ball. Although it seemed like they were in the midst of a huge struggle, we could tell from their faces that it was all in fun. Boys will be boys.
Another successful chapter of Operation Soccer Chopper is complete. The waving arms, the bare feet running across the rocky fields, and the ever present smiling faces are a testament that the cost of time, money, and effort each one of you invests into getting those soccer balls here for us to distribute are well worth it.
So YOU answer the question… Is it worth it?