Posted by Nelson Dafe, Benin City | 8 November 2014 | 4,180 times
The sports news came as a refreshing one. It wasn't one of controversy about Nigerian football like we have been buffeted with for so long. It wasn't of mismanagement of funds, or a player vs coach feud. No, it wasn't of players indiscipline or greed. Rather, it was welcome news of an uncommon gesture of honor by a player of the female junior side the falconets.
When Courtney Dike reportedly declined to collect her $7000 bonus after the Under 20 world cup held in Canada, citing that the pride of representing her nation was sufficient enough for her, we were reminded at once of that good behavior, devoid of greed, that many of us were taught. She also makes rubbish of the caricaturing of all Igbo persons as greedy people who would stop at nothing to amass more money.
Every so often we see hasty generalisations of people of particular ethnic groups. “Hausas are quick-tempered”; “Yorubas are disloyal snitches”, “Urhobos are troublesome and full of cunning”, e.t.c.
The generalisations have been the source of unnecessary interethnic suspicions and bad blood for much of our nation’s history.
An irritating aspect of the stereotyping is that it still persists even when there have not been any correct and verifiable data to back their claims up.
There are some, I’m sure, who would argue that Courtney’s laudable action is an exception to the norm among her people. It would be, for the reason stated above, useless to argue with such persons. But one can point out the support of her parents for her patriotic action as proof of the fact that she's not the only Igbo person who thinks the way she does about amassing more money than is considered needed.
Her parents, too, very likely, must have picked up this ideal, partly at least, from people of their ethnic environment where they grew up in.
So to suggest that all or a majority of Igbo people are especially more greedy for money is at best a naive assumption, methinks.
What Dike has done shows that there are Nigerians out there with a finer sense of the higher ideals of proving that money and the acquisition of it is not the be all and end all that there is to life.
Like the present British songster Sam Smith sang in his smash hit “Money on my mind”, Dike proves that a Nigerian, (and an Igbo girl) can, in participating in something important (like playing for the nation) “do it for the love” of it sometimes without expecting money.
There are some who argue that the beautiful football princess should have collected the money and given it to a charity in need. This also would have been a fine idea. I find some sympathy with this argument.
But I think also that someone has to make a case for the need to deemphasise the mad pursuit of money especially amongst sportsmen and women and rather concentrate on the quality of their work and the pride it brings. This attitude of mind makes sports heroes, and makes them live on in the minds of millions forever. Long may Courtney Dike reign.
•Photo shows Photo shows Falconets beautiful player, Courtney Dike.
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