Words from my heart
Today’s post is dedicated to my Wiebe and Klaassen relatives, with a special shout-out to cousin Dale and family in Holland—congrats on Netherlands’ World Cup victories! (Originally posted on ourlittlesoccerworld.com)
Mexico, Netherlands, and USA! USA! These are the World Cup teams my family is rooting for. The World Cup is about national pride and I stand proud of my German/Dutch heritage. I love my Wiebe/Klaassen clans! Truth is, I know embarrassingly little about my roots. I’ve heard enough stories to know orange is dominant—GO NETHERLANDS! But why aren’t we cheering for Germany if I’m German/Dutch? Mom to the rescue. She clarified we’re linguistically German, not from Germany. Sorry, Germany . . . you’re still pretty cool, though.
Mom’s a genealogy guru, and she gave each of her five children a 4” binder stuffed with family history, a great resource for boosting ancestral knowledge and national pride. So, inspired by stomping, chanting World Cup fans everywhere, I pulled my binder from the closet shelf this week.
Page by page, I soaked in details and photos. A few solemn relatives stared at me—I smiled back. And then I smiled at one of my dad’s team pictures. After high school, he attended Normal School (teacher training) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and joined the soccer team. Jaime was the first to notice the picture a few years ago while thumbing through my dad’s 1939 yearbook. In the back left corner, next to the captain, handsome Orlando Wiebe stood proud.
And what a thrill to uncover a new fun fact this week—my grandpa Henry Wiebe played soccer, too! In a booklet compiled by his children, I found this priceless recollection: He loved teaching children. At recess when the children raced out the door to play, he regularly joined them in their games. Soccer was a favorite sport. Even in the winter, a playing field was created by flattening the snow by walking on it.
It’s been easy to think my children grew to love the game because of Jaime, but their soccer-rich blood stems from Mexico and the prairies of Canada. Oh, how I wish Jaime and our children could have known my dad. Oh, how I wish they could talk soccer, and theology, and faith, and education. Oh, how I wish they could tell jokes until tears stream down their cheeks. Oh, how I wish . . .
I like the description of soccer in my dad’s yearbook: It is a clean, highly-competitive sport with as many thrills as any other. That’s soccer—a thrilling, beautiful game. Its language is universal. It unites nations. It stops wars. It bonds families.
It bonds Ramirez, Wiebe, and Klaassen families.
I stand proud.
(My dad, a pastor/theology teacher, passed away in 1971 at the age of 51)