The Dream Match
Mother Teresa once said, “Life is a dream… so make it a reality.”
Those few words could serve as a motto for Association Rêves (Dreams Association),which has been making the wishes of seriously ill children come true for 20 years. And last March 11th, Gabin, Seifi and Dinilson woke up as usual, unaware that they were about to experience a genuine woken dream.
It all began with an initiative from students at the IUT de Communication School in Nice: Theo Pentagrossa and his friends decided to hold a solidarity drive and raise funds for a charity as part of their studies. They opted to get in touch with Henri Iaich, Chairman of the local branch of Association Rêves and with the teams at the Allianz Riviera, who responded favourably to the project.
From then on, all those involved in the project marshalled their efforts to see to it that those children should get to experience that magical moment. Indeed, who has never fantasised about being in the shoes of their idol? Who has never wished they resembled those we only ever get to know on TV? Yet when those three kids climbed aboard the minibus that was taking them to the stage entrance at the Allianz Riviera, they still had no idea that Didier Deschamps himself was going to make them experience a most unforgettable afternoon.
For on that day, it was indeed the coach for France’s national football team “Les Bleus”, winners of the mythical 1998 World Cup, who was on hand to help them play in a very special match on the pitch at the Allianz Riviera. No, they were not dreaming when, upon entering the changing rooms, they saw the jerseys bearing their first names. They were not dreaming either when their photo appeared on the giant screens during the team introduction. Just like the pros, they did their warmups in the company of their prestige teammate and coach, then they lined up to the strains of France’s hymn La Marseillaise, and they started to play to enjoy their passion. They were overjoyed at every goal scored and they tackled the players from I Can Play who weren’t just there for show, witness an acrobatic flip that did not worry Didier Deschamps in the least! Indeed, his team won 8 to 5 after a day full of thrills where one was well advised to keep their eyes open so as to fully appreciate it! And how about that lively press conference and the autograph signing that followed, further extending the daydream for the three youths to whom life has not always been kind.
There is no doubt that the children left the Allianz Riviera with a head full of memories, thanks to the availability of the man whom they now call Didier and of all those whose efforts have made this an enduring project.