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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Tom discovers there's more to life than football...

Synergy is not just about winning trophies and the silky-smooth skills of sporting excellence, as splendid as that may be. Synergy is about using sport to help young people fulfill their God-given potential, and more often than not that requires some serious one-on-one mentoring.

This month Brian has been doing just that with one of the Synergy stars, Tom*. Tom's a great footballer, and in Uganda schools want great footballers to help make a name for them. He won a Football Scholarship for Secondary School, but unfortunately didn’t have the grades from Primary School to get in. In what might seem a magmanimous act, the school agreed to fudge it and let him in anyway.

The problem is that as Tom struggled more and more with his academic work, the message the school gave him was that as far as he was concerned, only football mattered. He failed the first year, but they let him in to the second. He didn’t need to take his studies seriously. No one cared what happened there. The only thing that mattered was the football - exams, integrity, academic achievement all went out the window. Tom began to value himself as others did - only as a footballer, nothing more.

Brian has been working closely with him and his mum. He’s teaching them that Tom’s worth is far greater that what he can contribute on the football field. His education is important and what's even more important is his integrity - he's beginning to realise that fudging his way through school just to play football is not doing him any favours. He knows, thanks to Brian, that he can really achieve something, even academically, if he puts his mind to it.

So where does this leave Tom? Does he continue on a so-called Football Scholarship where he's not getting the academic input that he needs, or does he go back and sit the Primary Leaving Exam again and go through all the proper academic processes. It's a massive deal to give up the scholarship and repeat years - not least because it means he will be unable to play football for any school team again. But Tom knows it's the right thing to do. He's beginning to see his value as more than just a footballer. And that's what Synergy is all about.

Synergy training - teaching teamwork, leadership skills and more!

*(Tom's name has been changed in line with our privacy policy).