#232 Francisco Guerra2018-10-03T16:14:32-04:00

Project Description

THE BALL OR THE GUN

#232 Francisco Guerra

“I want to create a Foundation to give scholarships to those kids who have nobody, who are homeless, who never had their parents’ help”

Chepina Hernandez / Beatriz F González

Saymary Silva

Saymary Silva

Petare, Caracas

I’d like to be a dad, I want to raise a family. It must be nice to have a kid, love him and pamper him, never fail him and support him. I’d like to have at least one child that becomes a soccer player like me, to share that with him, go to his matches and let him know I’m there for him.

I’ll be like that because I’ve seen how friends from school have turned to a life of crime, I think because they’re alone. Sometimes they have no one to give them advice and they make the wrong decisions. They join gangs and don’t last much, they’re murdered very young.

Once a friend gave me his gun, he wanted me to hide it for him. He told me “Francisco, take it, keep this gun for me.” And I told him “No way, you’re crazy!” He’s hanging out with the wrong people now, in the streets, with guns, stealing. I don’t say anything to him because I’m afraid. We were friends in school.

I want my children to grow in a safe place, with no gangs around, because… San Blas?! San Blas, where I lived, is a dangerous slum. My sister’s boyfriend was almost murdered, I don’t know why, he was about 20 years old. I only saw when they shot him. At that moment, my mum was in the kitchen making me a feeding bottle, and I saw it through the window. I didn’t see the gunman, just the gun as he shot to my house.

My preference to the ball over the gun is thanks to my cousin Winder, and my mum, because they gave me advice, and my teachers, because they take care of me and train me to join the first stage of the Vinotinto team.

I misbehaved in school almost daily, I’d come home with my clothes dirty, mum grounded me, sometimes I’d fall out with classmates, or didn’t do the homework because I was lazy. Today, I’m one of the 22 selected to join the Sub-15 team, I’m still in high school and I like maths. My cousin always tells me “Discipline and order first.” If he hadn’t taken me into sports, what would I be doing now? Maybe I’d be a criminal, God forbid, or I’d be doing drugs. But it ain’t like that.

I didn’t play soccer, I liked basketball. But when I was about ten, dad made me join the San Blas soccer team, here in Petare, and I got a passion for it. That team doesn’t exist anymore, the coach moved to Colombia. I then attended a tournament from a District team, and we made second place in Valencia, and in one of those matches, the Deportivo Petare people saw my talent, and now they’re my family.

Many teams like me, but I stand with Deportivo Petare, it’s where I have my friends. I like to share with them, play collectively, makes me feel safe and embraced.

When I think I can be chosen by La Vinotinto, I feel like it’s a big step, and if I do things well I can graduate with a team from abroad, I mean Italy or Brazil. I see myself like Tomás Rincón, I want to be like him in everything, in his personality, his soccer career, become a Champions League player. He’s achieved that, and is still a humble guy.

After playing and getting my major from college, I want to coach. I’d like to be like my teacher. He’s devoted and cares about everyone. Sometimes he feeds those kids who have less, he gives them a package of flour or rice, so they can take it home.

Some parents ask their children to beg on the streets, see if they get something from someone, because they have no money, they have nothing, they’re broke. I’ve seen it and that’s why I want to create a Foundation to give scholarships to those kids who have nobody, who are homeless, who never had their parents’ help.

I’ve had my mum, the one who raised me, she’s the most important person to me. She always supports me. Sometimes when I lose, I feel like crying, and she tells me “Francisco, always head up, never down.” She also tells me to carry on, to be a good person, honest. I do as she says and understand that you must be an example to others, the way you are.

I’ll tribute her by playing, by moving forward, taking good care of my children and helping other kids to have the same opportunities as I do, so they pick the ball over the gun.

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