What seems like an age ago, The Ball was hit by a car in Abidjan and rushed to hospital. But the wound got bigger and bigger and bigger… eventually it was so big that The Ball had to be taken to see a ball doctor last week in Yaounde, Cameroon, where it got temporary stitches. Now The Ball has returned back to the place in Kenya where it was made.
How would it feel to meet your maker? I get a little bit little nervous for The Ball as it is about to do just that. Bernard is very happy to see The Ball, his creation, again. How different it looks now, covered as it is in over 10,000 signatures and kicked in hundreds of games of football.
Bernard sets about restoring his creation to full health. He removes two wounded panels. He then removes and replaces the bladder in a particularly delicate procedure. It is one of the more difficult operations Bernard has had to undertake. Not least because the press surround him as he works his magic. At last, The Ball is ready to be made whole again — brand new panels are fitted over the gaping hole.
We know it is not just any ball, but The Ball is now huge. It has increased in size considerably due to getting soaked in Dakar, then dried out in the searing heat of Mali and Burkina Faso, then wet and dry again in the high humidity of Atlantic West Africa from the Ivory Coast through to Cameroon.
The Ball is now fit as a fiddle, but slightly groggy and a wee bit out of balance… the new panels are much smaller than the old ones that have stretched from all the wind, water, wear and tear. It bounces in an oddly uneven way now.
Oh well, I suppose it’s nothing that a good kicking won’t fix!
Written by The Ball on Friday, May 14th, 2010