Being Based in Coventry we haven’t had a lot of sporting success to celebrate for the last decade or so. The ice hockey & speedway fans I am sure will point to various major successes but the football and rugby that historically have provided the City with much to cheer have been lack-lustre at best.
That is until yesterday.
The football team went to Wembley for the final of the Checkatrade trophy – I know not much of a trophy but that is the point; you have to celebrate success where you find it. The football club are staring relegation in the face, are owned by a company that shows little interest in the club and even less in the community of the city (they continue to distract our local council with law suits) but even so 40,000 Coventry people took the trip to Wembley to watch 11 men kick a ball around on a bit of grass.
The picture at the head of this article is of Gaël Bigirimana celebrating the first goal. Whilst the goal was good there is more for us at Hunmoco in that picture. Some of us know Gaël, not well but enough to care that he had a good match. However what we really want to celebrate is that this picture show so much of what is good in our City (and many others) but goes un-said. Gaël is a refugee, he came to Coventry as a child with his parents. Gaël is a product of the Coventry City Football Club academy. He was sold to Newcastle by CCFC for a large amount of money a couple of years ago but struggled to find selection favour. He came back to a then struggling Coventry on loan and even here didn’t get picked by the then manager for the team. However he kept training, kept working hard, held on to his faith and yesterday it all came good.
We celebrate this morning all that is good in this story. A city of reconciliation and tolerance that welcomes refugees. A football club that believes in developing local talent and giving people a chance to succeed. Never giving up in the face of hard times and having a supportive community of family and friends around you keeps you going even when every fibre of your soul says stop now. Faith and hard work are a winning combination.
It is really important to celebrate when things go well and to understand what we are celebrating. In the office this morning we had a little chat about how best to celebrate with Gaël and the team. We ended up buying bacon sandwiches from the local sandwich wagon – our bodies are a temple!