Bali Is Now Ball-y! GOAL Indonesia!
What’s up Team TWB?! Things had been quiet for a while — we hadn’t heard of anyone scoring a goal since our trip to Brazil for World Cup 2014, when we personally gave away three soccer balls and Steve Kovach, a wonderful man we met in the Pantanal (the largest wetlands on Earth), joined in on the action and filmed his own soccer ball give away to kids a few days later. (Here’s our score on the Brazilian island of Morro de Sao Paulo: THE BEST 2014 WORLD CUP BRASIL GOAL!)
But that’s the wonder of the game — you can go a frustratingly long time without a score and then BOOM, all of a sudden, from out of the blue, someone kicks a beauty into the back of the net and you’re running down the field with your arms outstretched and your face to the sky screaming, “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!!!!!!”
Last Thursday, just before William and I were headed out the door to enjoy a few days in Death Valley and the Mammoth region, our TWB Facebook page received this awesome picture from Marci Halili Akoma, who is currently traveling on the island of Bali in Indonesia. Marci had heard us give our Travel With Balls pitch at a film festival several years ago and loved the idea of spreading a bit of joy and kindness in the world simply by buying a ball and handing it out at random to some kids while on the road. Last week she got her chance to score a TWB goal and it was a FABULOUS one — just look at the happiness on the faces of these beautiful little girls! As Marci wrote in the photo’s caption: “The cost of this ball: $1.00. The smiles on these faces: PRICELESS!”
The world is changed for the better one simple little action at a time. Giving a ball to some children at random while traveling is a goodwill gesture with tremendous symbolic power. Sports is a universal language (and soccer is the world’s most popular sport, which is why we recommend giving a soccer ball away…) that doesn’t need any translation. And by giving children a ball you are encouraging their right to play — their right to simply have fun and enjoy themselves. Plus, you are demonstrating for the kids that Life contains a bit of magic; that joyful, wholly unexpected events can sometimes happen — one moment you’re talking with your friends by the side of the road in your village and the next moment a total stranger is giving you a small gift with absolutely no strings attached — how’s THAT for an affirmation that Life is good and that people are to be trusted! Finally, by the simple act of giving children in another country a ball to play with, you are building bridges of trust and friendship across the lines of country, race, religion, ethnicity and class that are too often used to divide us and distract us from our common humanity. When you hand a ball to children you are really saying, “Hey, we’re all on the same team!” — and you don’t even need to use any words.
Life’s a game and the Goal is Joy! Play hard and TRAVEL WITH BALLS!
Peace & Blessings,