How many times has an opportunity presented itself, but for some reason, you failed to grab and utilize it? How many times have we been able to make use of an opportunity but instead chose (not subconsciously but consciously) not to? I'm guessing the search for answers to these questions has evoked haunting memories in our minds of choices that we regret having made but now can't reverse.
It's not every time that opportunity knocks on our door when we just happen to have left the house and it's not every time that the opportunity we crave for comes shrouded in a mystery that we pretty much can't solve without the presence of the Rosetta Stone. Sometimes, in actual fact, most times, opportunity comes when we most deserve it. It comes after hours of sweat and tears but for some reason we use problems as an excuse to remain stagnant. And then years later with only potential to our name, we lead miserable lives apportioning our lack of kinetics in our lives to anybody else other than ourselves.
Fortunately for some, when opportunity does come calling, the phone is immediately picked up before it goes to voicemail. A good example of this kind of a person is Pardon Ndlovu, a young man whose journey is the epitome of tenacity.
Pardon participated in the just ended Olympics marathon in which he managed to cross the finishing line as number 41. You will be forgiven if you don't recognise either his name or his face. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, Pardon wasn't in the radar of most Zimbabwean publications covering the Olympics or that of any financial stronghold (be it individual or institutional) that would have been willing to partner with him on his journey to Rio 2016.
There are tens if not hundreds of aspirant sportsmen and women across Zimbabwe, who train tirelessly in order to be afforded the opportunity to be recognised beyond their local soccer teams and be able to play on much bigger and grander fields than those in their neighbourhoods or schools. But only a handful of these athletes, the crèmè, are selected to represent their country on a national level and even less on an international stage. The old age adage "It gets colder the higher you go" should be changed to, "it gets hotter the higher you go" because the higher the levels of achievement you seek to achieve, the steeper the ascent and stiffer the competition. Contrary to popular belief success overnight is just but a myth only the lazy buy.
It must have sounded like the laughter of bad luck or "Cruella Devil" herself when Pardon Ndlovu found himself having qualified for the Olympics games that he was ill prepared financially to attend. Here was a man who had spent countless years dreaming of such an opportunity and even more years trying to ensure that he could qualify, faced with a huge stumbling block that he knew not how to move. A rather unfortunate way for ones dreams to be crushed I must say. But fortunately, due to the man's strength of character, he was able to find a solution to his problem.
One would have expected Pardons trip to be funded by generous donors but unfortunately, this was not the case for the young man. However, instead of wallowing in self pity, Pardon engineered a way to pay for his trip. His idea, which someone else could have regarded as simplistic, was to design T-shirts that he would sell until his monetary goals were achieved. Meagre though each T-shirt sale promised, he was able to raise enough money to buy himself a return ticket to Rio. And now a few days after his race, Pardon can safely say that he has run his race and run it well too.
Seeing him pictured with a smile on his face after the race, one could have been tempted to make assumptions at face value. But knowing, the perseverance which enabled him to take up this opportunity, one will understand that it wasn't an easy road which he traveled. It now comes as no surprise that Pardon did not allow his obstacles to deter him since the race he participated in - a marathon - is an endurance sport that saw him racing for over 2 hours before he reached the finishing line.
What I would like to know now is, if it had been you faced with such a daunting prospect, what would you have done? Would you have answered the call knowing that opportunity was on the other end of the line or would you have been deterred by the sight of mountains waiting to be scaled in the horizon?