DARE TO DREAM

Activated - - NEWS - By Koos Stenger Koos Stenger is a free­lance writer in the Nether­lands.

“I had seen that man be­fore and now he was sit­ting in the snow out­side the sta­dium [in Madrid]. I asked him what he was do­ing there. He said he'd been there for five hours, hop­ing for a chance to see the game, but his money had run out. That's when I knew I had to help.” This is how José Mour­inho, then coach for Real Madrid foot­ball (soc­cer) team, de­scribed his meet­ing with Abel Ro­dríguez, a Mex­i­can-Amer­i­can who waxes floors in Los An­ge­les.

Ro­dríguez had first met Mour­inho in the U.S. sev­eral years ear­lier when Real was on a train­ing cam­paign and needed a vol­un­teer to carry wa­ter for the play­ers. It wasn't a paid task, but Ro­dríguez was happy to help, and that's when he de­cided he had to see a real game. He saved money for the plane fare, flew out, and hoped for the best.—And it was “hope,” be­cause he nei­ther had a ticket for the match nor any­where to stay.

It paid off. Af­ter their en­counter, Mour­inho put up Ro­dríguez in the same ho­tel as the play­ers, all ex­penses paid. He pro­ceeded to give him a paid job as kit man for an up­com­ing Cham­pi­ons League match against Manch­ester United, which meant Ro­dríguez flew with the team to Eng­land as a staff mem­ber.

“We must help each other to live our dreams,” said Mour­inho.

1 When I first heard about this in­ci­dent, I was im­pressed. Mour­inho has a rep­u­ta­tion as a tough char­ac­ter. He never seems to miss an op­por­tu­nity to ridicule his op­po­nents, and he comes across as proud and harsh. Yet, when faced with this man's dreams, his heart was touched. It shows that deep down we may be quite dif­fer­ent from the im­age we project.

Then there is the faith of the cleaner. How could he have flown across the world with hardly any money, ex­pect­ing to man­age to see a game in one of the world's big­gest soc­cer sta­di­ums? That seems rather ridicu­lous. Ir­re­spon­si­ble, ac­tu­ally. Dream­ers do crazy things that av­er­age peo­ple might never at­tempt. But in fol­low­ing his dream, Ro­dríguez ended up with a unique and inspiring story to tell.

If peo­ple can dream big dreams for things in this life that have lit­tle eter­nal value, how much more should we, as God's chil­dren, dream big and do as much good as we can in a world that is des­per­ate for love and recog­ni­tion.

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