From Grass to Grace is a series that chronicles the career of a fictional African player whose life travelled from the harshest economic condition in Africa to Europe's best fields
From Grass to Grace
By Nana Frimpong
It was this decision he made known to his family - sparing them the boring details, of course - in no uncertain terms, after each one had had a turn at coaxing his reasoning back into the realms of ‘normalcy’ albeit in futility.
After what had seemed like eternity - only a few minutes, in reality - when his words echoed in the cramped hall and he awaited the angry reaction from the raw nerves he had obviously just struck with his statement of intent, the Abusuapanyin (family head), perhaps upon realising the boy wasn't going to rescind his decision to anything more sensible, opted to follow procedure in bringing forth a response, even as fiery emotions simmered within him.
In accordance with custom, he conferred with the parents who, as the boy’s legal guardians, were obliged to present the final decision, one which the rest of the family unanimously consented to support and help realise.
That decision, when it eventually came after some lengthy deliberation, was shattering, to say the least. They would no longer be willing to provide any more than the most basic needs of a son who had clearly shown himself defiant and not inclined to heed their own counsel. In sum, he would be assured only room and board henceforth.
Were that ‘sentence’ and the meaning therein as simple as it sounded, though, he would have coped and bared his teeth through it all. As the weeks went by, however, the harsh realities dawned on him.
He who once represented the apple of the family’s eye was now considered a mere accessory - an unwanted one at that - with his every action being scrutinised thoroughly and receiving punishment. There were cold shoulders and hard stares everywhere he turned, even from some of his youngest siblings.
Things came to a head when - at a time he had all but dropped out of school altogether - he reacted angrily to unfounded accusations from his Papa of stealing a handful of wads from his near-empty stash by branding him an “idiot” and an “envious underachiever”, with his Ma observing with uncharacteristic apathy all the time.
That incident would indicate a significant turning point in his life, one that would mark the close of one chapter and the start of another. Sure, he hadn’t acted right, but the old man crossed the line, too, didn’t he? Irrespective of how often he tried to reason, however, it was hard to play down the seriousness of this incident.
Clearly, it was time to move out.
Leaving home, for his parents especially, hadn’t been part of the plan, (although, of course, they wouldn’t admit it), and they were genuinely heartbroken, as the whole point of their coldness was to effect a change of heart. Either way, several years would pass before they’d reunite.
Finding a place to run to from home didn’t prove that tough. His one true friend acquired over the difficult past few months, his new coach, Kwesi Smith, had offered to provide him an alternate source of accommodation whenever he felt ready to escape the hellish predicament he endured in his parents’ home after listening to one episode of his ordeal after the other, and there couldn’t be a more ideal chance to take up that offer.
He couldn’t look back now even if he wanted to; certainly not now, he had given up the one thing he had held dearer than all else: Family.
Watch out for episode 5 next Saturday
Click to read episode 3 -Altered priorities, adieu school
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