Chaos in my Wake
30 August 2007
Hello OSC fans!
The activity for Operation Soccer Chopper lately has had its ups and downs. Thanks to Jon Gold for writing a great story in the L.A. Daily News last Sunday. The story brought attention to our project and has allowed many others to participate and donate soccer balls to our cause. Thank you Jon! In addition to his article, there were a few other agencies that ran the story and thanks to them we’re able to make it possible for even more people to contribute to the Operation.
An interesting thing happened the same day that the story was printed. As the story was showing up in the L.A. Daily news, another news story was released on some other media outlets. In this story there were some local people from the area who were upset because of a certain soccer ball that was dropped from my helicopter. The soccer ball in question had flags printed on it from countries that participated in the World Cup. One of the countries was Saudi Arabia. On the Saudi Arabia flag there is an inscription from the Koran, written in Arabic. A few of the people here in the local area were upset that a ball was dropped in the dirt from my helicopter because the writing in Arabic was from the Koran. I didn’t realize what effect dropping that ball would have nor had I imagined the commotion that resulted from one single soccer ball. So far I’ve heard reports that there were riots and demonstrations in town because of that one single soccer ball.
I will admit that I had no idea of what the Saudi flag looked like before this. I will also admit that there are very few flags that I would be able to pick out from all of the countries that participated in the World Cup. I do not read Arabic, I can’t speak it. I barely know where it is on the map. When I got the ball in the mail my first thought was that it would be a neat gift to some kid who likes soccer enough to know what countries participated in the World Cup. Apparently, I was wrong. I’ve offered to trade the ball for a different one. I have lots of other kinds…red, green, blue, even pink. So far, I’ve gotten no takers.
For right now, the operation is on temporary hold. I hope to start dropping balls again soon though. Today as my crew and I were making our way across the countryside, kids on the left and right were waving at us in hopes of us dropping a few soccer balls. There were times when we flew over kids that were playing in the wadi or working in the fields that would stop what they’re doing and watch us fly pass. They anxiously wait and see if we’ll turn around and drop some soccer balls, but for now we will have to disappoint them. I can almost feel the tension build up in their gut as they turn toward us and get ready to run in hopes of snatching up one of those soccer balls that you sent and I hate to let them down. There are times when we run out of balls to drop and while we make our way back to base that the kids we fly pass on the way back wave and scream at us to drop more.
I believe that Operation Soccer Chopper is doing a good thing. I believe that the reason it is doing so well is because of people like all of you. When you take the time and effort to get the soccer balls to us way over here, you give my crew and me the wonderful opportunity to see the joy and excitement of the kids who end up with those soccer balls. I’m so very proud of all of you and proud to be a part of this project. It is because of your generosity that so many children are able to receive those gifts that you send.
My dad taught me as I was growing up that generosity should play a paramount role in the way you live your life. Being thankful is being aware of what is going on around you in a positive aspect. I’m thankful for all of you and the work you go through to make this project work. If it weren’t for you, those kids would still be throwing rocks instead of waving at us when we fly pass.
Thank you so very much.