I believe the world must come together to work together. I had the privilege of traveling to Amsterdam when I was 12. I went alone, selected to represent the United States with my talent of soccer. I scrunched into the little seat that matched my ticket number, and took a glance around. Thoughts flickered in and out of my mind. Click, I fastened my seat belt, I was secure from the hundreds of strangers surrounding me. I felt like an angel in a jail cell. I just stared at the scratched beaten down tray table in front of me. Then, I took another glance at my surroundings. These were not strangers, they were fellow brethren. They were all scrunched in their seats, and heading for the same destination. Not only that, this plane departs and arrives on a regular basis, carrying new people each time. Millions of people had been my shoes before, so what was there to be afraid of. Getting off that plane must have been the best moment of my life though. I stepped down the stairs and I spelled one word in my mind, FREEDOM. This wasn’t your everyday freedom. Cows and hogs walked across the road whenever they wanted to. Less than 10 cars were in sight. This was the place of my dreams. I walked through open markets and traveled by canal. But this whole time, I pondered the one question, “Why is America so different?” Am I alone in my belief that this is true luxury? What I had been preparing for and waiting for had finally come, The International Tournament. Sixty-Four countries had come together just to play soccer. As U2 says, this was “one love”. I exchanged pins and flags with the other teams and then we were ready to begin. I played two teams from Holland, one from England, one from Germany, and four other American teams. We won three of these eight games, but in my heart I had won eight. Eight things that I had never experienced the true meaning of: love, freedom, passion, heart, courage, strength, faith, and unity. I have never felt more welcomed in my life, so I leave you with the question, What does “one” mean to you? Is it the number on a domino or a die, or is it a world that works together, a world that is equal, and a world that loves.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.