Do you want to keep playing or do you want to win?
This question replays through Joe’s mind. He is at his favorite club on a Saturday. There is a girl who has caught his eye – she is easily the hottest ngoko around. As is usually the case, she is surrounded by three girls – her minions. Already, the girl has smiled at Joe a couple of times. Yeah, Joe ni yule msee. All he has to do is walk over and switch to auto-pilot. His tongue will know what to do. And what his tongue can’t do, his smile will. He is assured that if he walks over there, he is leaving with her tonight. And what a night it will be.
But then tomorrow will come…
Will she call him baby? A good number of them do and he usually ends up inventing a lie and kicking them out. No matter how beautiful they are at night, come morning… he can’t stand them. Is it that girls were created to be ugly in the morning? Or is it the booze that makes them more beautiful than they really are at night?
Anyway, Joe’s mbogi thinks he is the OG. They envy him. But damn! He really has it good. At least he used to think so until his friend – who is in a boring relationship if you ask Joe – gave him a story and at the end asked, “Do you want to keep playing or do you want to win?”
Of course, Joe told this friend that if there is anybody who is always winning, it is Joe Boy himuself – because he is always drinking them. But right now, he wonders what the meaning of winning is. If anybody had asked him weeks ago, he would have said that winning is going home with that pengting who keeps throwing him sexy glances and who is gyrating more and more invitingly. It would be a win because every guy near her is salivating for her but he would be the one to go home with her.
Looking at her, for a moment he is tempted to go over. Damn! She fine. Why lie? She is one of the cleanest property that he has ever seen. And she moves like a pole dancer. No. A stripper. Someone blocks his view. Phewks. His brain had started going numb. He turns and moves to another spot.
Once he regains his brain, he continues thinking. She looks like a goddess. But somehow, tomorrow morning, she will be just another conquest of his. The beauty will still be there but he won’t see it. It baffles him.
He sees football highlights from last night playing on a television in the distance and his mind goes back to last night’s game.
You see, Joe is a Ronaldo fan. Ronaldo lost yesterday. To be more accurate, Ronaldo’s team lost. He forgets their name sometimes. Oh! Juventus. Juventus lost. Ronaldo played and he did it well. He scored twice for his team – just like Joe had hoped he would, but still they lost. Joe remembers going to Ronaldo’s IG page and finding a photo of the footballer with three chubby babies all over him. The photo was captioned, “Feeling loved.”
He remembers being left with the sense that, even though Ronaldo had lost on the field, at a personal level, he had won. He had won, despite everything: He’s getting old… his career is coming to an end… Juventus bought him as a savior – they expect him to work miracles for them… there is a whole lot of pressure on him. Then he gets the chance to come through for his team and he gives his best – everybody can see that he did. But still, it seems that fate is not on his side and he fails. He has put so much effort into the competition but he won’t be walking home with that trophy.
It reminds Joe of Messi and Argentina. How does Messi feel every time his team fails to win the world cup even though he gave his best and he is one of the greatest ever?
Joe wonders whether, if he suffered a devastating failure, he would feel loved. He would not want to be with his mbogi in the club because he would be killing the mood. He would probably just stay at home with a bottle of beer. Would any of the pengtings on his contact list make him feel loved? Would he even want to call any of them?
He moves a little bit away from the crowd and retrieves his phone. He goes through the contact list and is just about to give up when he sees her name – Yvonne. He was once neighbors with her and he smiles at the memory. For some reason, JP Cooper’s Lyrics pop into his head:
I feel like I can be myself with you
All these feelings came out of the blue
I found love I’m…
Yvonne would definitely make him feel loved.
She had been beautiful. But he had been a player. And the game had been too important. He could not leave the game for one girl. So he had let her go.
He then remembers her status update the other day. He vividly pictures that son of a b**ch who had been holding her. She had seemed happy. And very beautiful. The son of a b**ch had seemed even happier. And right then, he realizes that he lost.
He had played in the Champions League… No, the World Cup. But he had not brought the cup home. He turns and slaps the wall… hard. “Usiseme ulikuwa umewekelea Chelsea bro,” someone nearby says and people laugh. In his current state, he doesn’t understand that the guy is referring to the Bayern Vs Chelsea game going on. He shuts his eyes and lets out a deep breath, struggling to calm himself.
“Do you want to keep playing or do you want to win?” The question echoes in his head as he heads for the exit.