Mercedes Gonzalez Amade
HAVANA TIMES — I have an 11-year old boy who means the world to me. His name is Carlos Adriel and he loves sports. When he was a little kid he liked baseball and wanted to play professionally, but the uniform and equipment are far too expensive (from 110 to 130 usd). Well beyond my more than modest means, to say the least.
I persuaded him to practice a cheaper sport, and he chose Greco-Roman wrestling. He started training with a leotard I threw together using a pair of old pants. He’s been training hard for several years now and is already starting to reap the benefits of his dedication.
A few days ago, Carlos Adriel had to participate in a provincial competition and, naturally, wanted to wrestle in store-bought kneepads and sneakers, like the rest of the kids. Wanted, but couldn’t afford to.
So, I picked up a needle and thread and, using a piece of fabric, a bit of sponge and an elasticized band, I stitched together a pair of kneepads that stood up to the ones I used as my model. They didn’t look as great as the originals, of course.
On the day of the match, Carlos Adriel seemed a bit nervous, as though he felt at a disadvantage. But he overcame this feeling. When his turn came, he put on the coach’s sneakers and went straight into battle. The result: a silver medal.
His coach and I are very happy and proud of him. What’s more, a number of coaches from more prestigious sport academies have taken an interest in him; they think he may have a future in the sport.
Maybe one day Carlos Adriel will be an Olympic medalist or wrestling coach, who knows. What I do know is that, at his young age, he has already taught all of us a valuable lesson: that what you’re worth doesn’t depend on what you wear, but on the effort and heart you put into what you do.