The day I met Neymar
The year was 2002.
I was in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
My family and I were visiting from the US for my cousin’s wedding.
But here was the thing.
At least 25 of my uncles were sneaking out of the wedding.
Because it was the 2002 FIFA World Cup Finale.
The entire country of Bangladesh was in a frenzy.
Were we going to win?
‘What do you mean WE? Bangladesh wasn’t playing in the World Cup.’
Good point, my friend.
But let me give you a little insight.
In Bangladesh, the mass majority roots for either Brazil or Argentina.
No clue why, but it has always been like that.
My brother and I were getting a little bored at the wedding, so we decided to sneak out as well.
I still remember that day like it was yesterday.
Such a magical moment.
Everyone was having fun, in a great mood, and we were all glued to every single soccer play, desperately hoping that Brazil brought it home.
‘Well did they?’
Brazil won the 2002 World Cup!!
I still remember thinking back then, how dope it would be if I ever met a player that represented Brazil?
One could only dream, right?
Back to the present
Crack one eye open to peak at the time.
Nah, I already snoozed it for the 3rd time.
Had to go to work.
During this time, I was living in New Jersey.
Just got a brand spanking new job as a systems engineer.
My company sent me to Jersey City to get trained for the new role.
‘Were you enjoying it?’
It was fun and all, don’t get me wrong.
But I just felt out of it.
But for some reason, it was not.
I was very homesick.
Missed my friends, family & my apartment in Florida.
But there were only 3 weeks left in training.
Need to suck it up.
Too many patterns!
Life was beginning to feel repetitive.
My training facility was only a 5-minute walk from my hotel.
On the weekdays, I would walk to my training room from 9-5.
The day consisted of sitting on my ass listening to a bunch of lectures, taking a whole bunch of exams, networking with the mangers.
Then come back home.
Rinse & repeat every weekday.
To be honest, I wasn’t the most social kid at the time.
Social situations made me feel uncomfortable.
So I would stay in my deluxe hotel room a lot, and every now and then, have a cutie join me.
‘Bro… wtf man?’…
The other trainees at my work felt like I was neglecting them.
My friend Mike one day gathered a huge group & brought them right outside my hotel door.
He said, ‘Dude, we are going to make you leave your cave. You are coming to the City with us.’
I was corned by at least 10-15 friends who would not take no for an answer.
Mind if I charge my phone first?
‘Nah bro, just get ready.’
Damn, I was only pushing 2%.
But oh well.
Journey to the city.
Luckily, I didn’t have to do shit.
Mike was leading the group and I was just following the herd.
‘Okay guys, we are going to take train blah blah and get off here so we can take train blah blah, and we will be there!’ Mike said.
I just nodded my head aimlessly completely missing the directions.
Well, the ride started off very smoothly.
The first subway ride was a success.
‘What about the second subway ride?’
As we got off the first subway, I realized that my pants felt a little light.
I left my wallet on the subway.
So I run back in the subway to get it real quick.
‘Bro where are you going?’ yelled Mike.
I am just going to grab my wallet!
But as soon as I went to grab my wallet, the doors closed.
I turn around, and my friends are looking at me in defeat.
I frantically tried opening the door.
But it was shut.
‘YO! I need to get out, please open the door.’
But it was too late.
The subway began to ride off into the wind.
Middle of nowhere
Yea.. I was literally out of the train for only 10 seconds. But some scumbag sack of shit cleaned it out.
Damn, what am I going to do?
How am I going to get back to Jersey?
My phone is dead.
No money to call a cab.
No friends to hit up.
At the next stop, I got out of the subway in defeat.
I wouldn’t have even been riding in a stank ass subway anyways.
‘So what did you do?’
I went on a journey to ask people for money.
Gave them a little backstory as to what happened, and was begging them for some cash to get back home.
No one wanted to give me so much as a penny.
Eventually, I decided to switch my strategy.
I knew there was a bridge that connected New York to Jersey, so at this point, I ditched the plans for a ride.
Looks like walking it is.
Walk from hell
Wrote all of the directions on toilet paper. Not joking.
I spent hours walking.
It was hot as fuck.
I was wearing all black.
My shoes were uncomfortable.
Dehydration started to kick in.
Was I going to make it?
Well, I had no choice.
So I walked & walked & walked.
I made a few errors along the way but was getting closer to my final destination.
Until I noticed something…..
Crowded Hotel Front.
And why was everyone wearing a Brazil soccer jersey?
I went up to a gentleman and asked: Hey, what is going on here?
The middle-aged man looked at me, flabbergasted.
‘You didn’t hear?? The Brazil soccer team is staying at this hotel. They play in Red Bull stadium tomorrow! I came all the way from Brazil to see Neymar & Kaka!’
I needed a few seconds to process what I had just heard.
Was this a joke?
No way was my childhood dream coming true.
I was actually going to have a chance to see the Brazil team…. in person?!
Nah screw that!!
This was my dream since I was a little kid. And I’ve been through hell and back today.
I need to find a way..
So I start looking around trying to scheme.
There was a restaurant that was connected to a hotel.
Does this restaurant have a secret connection to the hotel? If so, I can bypass this herd and enter into the main lobby!
Only one way to find out.
‘Party for 1 please’
My waitress came. She was a pretty, blonde, sweet girl who was around my age.
Okay, I can easily make friends with her.
Excuse me, ma’am. Let me ask you a question.
‘Sure go ahead.’
I have thus far had the worst day of my life. I do not have a single penny since I got robbed. The only reason I booked a table was to see if there was a secret entrance to the hotel. It was always my dream to meet a player from Brazil. Can you please help me?
She looked at me shocked…
Damn. What did I do..
Is she going to call the cops?
Then she looks around to see if anyone was looking.
No one was.
She gave me a gentle ‘come with me’ head shake.
Because Kathleen took me thru a secret entrance that connected me to the hotel!
I literally bypassed the 300 people outside.
Now your boy was at the lobby with a few of the media members, just waiting for the players to arrive.
Finally, a mega bus pulls up.
The crowd went ecstatic!
They are here.
Slowly but surely, the bus doors open.
The crowd went wild!!
The personal trainers began coming out.
Then the coaches.
And finally, the players.
They all signed a few autographs outside and began walking in.
Oh shit oh shit!! This is really happening.
I was surrounded by Brazil media reporters eagerly waiting to get an interview.
Everything was working out so well.
‘Hey who are you?’
Damn, what do I do?
‘Okay sir, come with me, you have to leave.’
Okay, okay look, I will leave, let me just use the restroom, I said.
He looked at me suspiciously and put his arm on my shoulder.
‘Okay you can use the restroom, but I will walk you there.’
I was so close.
The players began entering through the doorways.
More and more media began coming thru.
So I shoved the security guards palm off of my shoulder, and I bolted!!
Run run run
Damn this was so risky.
What the hell am I doing?
I could go to jail for this, but oh well.
As I was running I started seeing all of these players.
David Luiz, Hulk, the legendary Kaka.
I was able to lose track of the fatass security guard.
The cute waitress from earlier made her way thru as well. So I begged her for her phone so I could take pictures. She gave it to me.
I just had one goal in mind.
He was my favorite player from Brazil. Meeting him would be one of the greatest stories I could tell.
I could see an army of people in uniforms entering the facility.
I was frantically searching and looking.
Neymar, where are you!!
‘Hey you!! Get back here.’
Shit. The security guard found me, and he was running at full speed.
I began to run the other way, weaving thru the herd.
And then out of nowhere.
I see a glowing figure.
Not too tall, slim body, shiny hair.
Oh yea, that look is very familiar.
It was Neymar.
It really was him.
And Neymar just looked at me and smiled.
Not sure if he had a clue what I was saying.
Then out of nowhere, I felt a smack on my shoulder.
‘Alright son, you are in a lot of trouble. Come with me.’
No, so close…
But Neymar was not having it!
He removed the security guards palm from my shoulder and shooed him off.
The security guard stood there looking stunned.
Then Neymar gestures *photo* with his hands.
I hurriedly pulled out the camera.
My fingers were trembling. This felt like a dream.
But it was not.
I finally gathered my footing of the camera and click!!
Memory saved for the rest of my life.
I will never forget this day.
It was the day that I met Neymar.
What can you learn?
Keep this story in the back of your mind.
Remember, there will be many days where you just want to stay home.
And to be honest, you need those days.
But there will be many days you need to force yourself out into the world.
Remember, you are getting ONE shot in life.
Make the most out of it.
Have adventures, explore, travel, meet new people & try new food.
‘Uh… so no Fortnite?’
You can play video games, I don’t care.
But ensure you are expanding your boundaries as well.
I want you to plan out trips, be spontaneous & take some beautiful pictures to one day look back on.
As you age, your pictures will be something that you cherish. I guarantee it.
Build your photo album to the life of your dreams.