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The LDS Footballer
As I see him climbing the hill up and down, it occurs to me how this young promising footballer understands that hard work always pays. He is called Charles Nana Yaw Arthur, and he is known to be an LDS. One always seems to wonder how he balances both, because many think its impossible for a soccer player to be a faithful Latter Day Saint. This promising young soccer player lives and defends his faith and standards.
He is credited for Sekondi College’s success in soccer in 2007, and also the qualification of Rosepark FC to the Ghana’s division one league. He is popularly known as Roro because of his style of play and his calm behavior. This is how Nana describes his passion for soccer, “I believe that a person needs to do what he loves to do best. When am on the field playing, it makes me happy. The money comes next, but the joy of playing comes first. I want to do for the rest of my life what I love doing, and what makes me happy”.
People know his family to be faithful and respected members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint. It is clear he knows his standards and despite his career choice, he is willing to live it. A team mate said this of him, “ Roro, he thinks he is the only church goer ooo, he is always acting as if for us we are mosques goers. We all go to church but we don’t show it oo”. The way this team mate spoke to me about Roro gave me a good idea of what Nan is dealing with, and the frustration soccer mates have with others who live a higher standard than them. There is a saying here (in most Ghanaian communities among youth) that if you are classified as going to mosque, then you have no standards.
Jocelyne, an ex-girlfriend of Nana describes him as very patient, caring and has great passion for sports (football). She added, “I don’t know his career and religious goals, but I know him to be someone who always wants to fulfill all his religious responsibility, but nothing seem to separate him from his soccer”.
There are lot of challenges in playing football and serving the Lord. Some of the challenges are abusive language used during play, treatment from players in the course of play, and the biggest challenge here with teams and football is the belief players and team officials have is black power (juju). They do rituals and other things that in their view will give them spiritual boost and luck to win games. This is totally against the gospel standard, and Nana said he was personally against it, but sometimes he has to sit back and watch them do it. “It their belief and all I have to do is to live an exemplary life for them to emulate”. Charles Nana Yaw Arthur’s grandfather, who introduced him to the restored gospel and raised him, has already taught him the principles. It up to Nana to govern his life with it and make good choices.
As I observed him play, he looked very different. His pink and white shinny boots with yellow socks just stood out from the green pitch background. His bushy hair made him look handsome and natural. With much training, this five feet eight inches LDS had built his body very well. Nana is dark, and played with aggression on his face so he was revered by his mate. He was also much respected because he was loaned to this team from a big premier league club. As I watched him making his penetrating runs and scoring goals, I felt very proud of him. A thought ran through my mind that, all this will lead him nowhere, if he does not continue to live his standards, regardless the pressure. He already has his own regrets. He wished he had served a mission. Regardless of this regrets, his eternal perspective and goals in mind, “I feel that it is an eternal principle to work and take care of your family. The career I have chosen will help me do that. This means I would have to travel with my family and they will always be around me. This is quite unusual with regards to most footballers families, but I plan to do exactly that. The scripture says, if you gain the whole world and lose your soul, you have gained nothing, this same applies to family. I can’t make all the money in the world and lose my family. God has given us souls to take care of, and as we fulfill that duty well, we are sure to go back and live in his presence”.
What are some of your believes that kind of go against your interest or hobby.