The Quest for Greatness Sample

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This is an inspirational and fascinating fictitious novel that shows that professional sports in the United States of America can be a path to economic empowerment. This novel is an indication that sports skills, hard work, and good behavior are usually accompanied by a successful outcome.

The Quest For Greatness narrates a story about a man whose parents migrated to United States of America from Africa before he was born. His parents migrated to United States of America in quest of economic emancipation. His parents were college graduates in their country of origin before their migration to United States of America. It was difficult for them to make transition in America due to communication barrier and cultural differences. They came to the realization that United States of America is a conglomeration of people from all over the world with enormous diversity.

They did menial jobs to survive and put food on the table while making a transition in America. It was during this time that the professional basketball star and a politician, Tim was born. His father started teaching him how to play basketball at a young age of five which turned out to be his means of livelihood later in life. He distinguished himself as a skillful basketball player and was drafted by a United States NBA professional basketball franchise and he played for his professional team after graduating from college. He was very talented in playing basketball which resulted in his selection as a player for the United States All Star Basketball Team for several years. He diversified his activities by investing in some businesses. He became a rare gem of business colossus. He also excelled in politics as a United States Senator.

He had a successful career as a professional player, an investor and a politician. Tim's diligence, tenacity of purpose and skills propelled him to greater heights. He was a benevolent and generous person. He helped the poor and the needy tremendously.

This is an awesome and fascinating novel which you will find difficult to put down once you start reading.

The Quest For



Valentine C. Okonkwo

Copyright © 2019 Valentine C. Okonkwo

All right reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, or by

any means without prior consent of the author and publisher, except brief quotes

used in reviews.

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The Quest For Greatness


This novel is dedicated to my entire family. I also wish to express my

profound gratitude to the publisher of this piece of work. I am thankful to the

peop1e that encouraged me 'in my endeavors.


Valentine C. Okonkwo



This is a fictitious and magnificent novel that motivates

people to aspire highly. It is a novel about a man who became an

eminent person in society with tremendous accomplishments due

to his determination, diligence and persistence in working to

meet his goals. This novel reminds us that professional sports is

very lucrative in United States of America and is a path to

economic empowerment. The main subject of discussion

achieved his objective of being a professional basketball player

after his graduation from a University. Later, he became an

investor, a community activist, a political aspirant and a senator

in United States of America.


Tim was born in a small town in California called Hanford.

This town and some other neighboring towns such as Corcoran,

Visalia and Porterville usually have enormous amount of pollens

in the atmosphere and were highly polluted.

One out of every four kids in Hanford and its environs had the

tendency to be asthmatic at that time. Numerous individuals also

had the propensity to be allergic due to lots of pollens in the air

and other factors. Many people experienced seasonal or perennial

allergies in Tim's town due to pollens, environmental factors and

other causative factors.

Majority of people were prescribed an inhaler called albuterol

(brand name, Ventolin or ProAir) which is used for treatment of

breathing problem or shortness of breath and fluticasone inhaler

(brand name, Flonase) for prevention of shortness of breath,

wheezing, sneezing and nasal congestion.

Non-prescription antihistamine medications such as

chlorpheniramine (brand name, clor-trimeton), loratadine (brand

name, Claritin) and diphenhydramine (brand name, Benadryl)

which are often used to alleviate allergic symptoms such as

sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose and itching were commonly

purchased over-the-counter in various pharmacies and were in


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high demand.

Packets of a nasal decongestant called pseudoephedrine

(brand name, Sudafed) were frequently purchased.

Eventually, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency

regulated its purchase to one packet a month per person based on

milligrams per weight.

Many farms existed in Hanford and its surrounding towns.

Weed killers, fertilizers and pesticides were commonly used in

the farms. The purpose of using weed killer products is to remove

unwanted weeds, fertilizers help for rapid growth of crops and

pesticides are important for pest control. The utilization of weed

killers, fertilizers and pesticides apparently created health

hazards. It was speculated that chemicals and substances in the

air might have the propensity to cause cancer.

It is reasonable to infer that environmental factors played a

role in causing cancer in residents of those areas. Animals like

cows, pigs and chickens were fed with growth hormones which

could be carcinogenic in humans. There was high mortality rate

in these areas due to individuals that suffered from cancer. The

appearance of severe fog and smog in the atmosphere in this part

of California at certain time of the year is rampant.

Sometimes, it gets very foggy with zero visibility which

makes it difficult to drive on the road.

The name of Tim's father was Shawn and his mother' s name

was Destiny. Tim's father was born in his parents' house at his

country of origin. A nurse assisted his mother to deliver him

during labor. There was no nearby hospital at that time and

people had to travel about one hundred miles to get to the only

city with a hospital.

Tim's mother was born in the countryside at a local


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government clinic of her country of origin. His parents had a

rough and hard life. It was extremely difficult for his

grandparents to provide three square meals daily for their

children. His paternal grandfather was a farmer and he did low

scale farming by tedious manual labor.

There were no technological innovation and advancement at

that time. Mechanized farming was nonexistent during that


His paternal grandfather, Stephen married three wives

because polygamy was acceptable in their society and not a

crime. He had several children. The number of children and

farms a person had were the criteria used to assess how wealthy

the person was during the uncivilized days.

His paternal grandfather was a very strong man and a wrestler

that made residents of his town gave him a nickname, "The Under

taker". Wrestling matches were periodically organized between

different villages in his town. His grandpa was an unbeatable

champion. He was very famous and many people considered it

an honor to be his friend.

He was an atheist and he worshipped three deities. He had a

superstition that the gods he worshipped brought him fortune,

wealth and good health.

Many people did not believe in the existence of God during

that period so they were not Christians until Irish priests and other

foreign priests introduced Christianity in that country.

Subsequently, people's perceptions and beliefs broadened.

Many people were converted to be Christians. They came to the

realization that they should worship only one God.

Tim's maternal grandfather was a wine tapper and a hunter.


Valentine C. Okonkwo

He climbed many palm trees daily to extract palm wine which he

sold at a market. Due to lack of technology at that time, he used

strings of ropes he put together to climb the palm trees. He was

very creative in doing what he had to do to survive.

He hunted for deers. He sold some of the deers at a local

market and took the rest home to be used in cooking foods for his


He had three wives with several children. Tim 's grandparents

knew the value of education and encouraged their children to

attend schools. They believed that knowledge is power and

encouraged them to study hard. They had a strong desire to see

their children do better than them.

Tim's father, Shawn studied Accountancy at a University in

his country and graduated with honors. There was massive

unemployment in his country during the time of his graduation

so he was unable to be employed as an Accountant for seven

months. Eventually he got a job at his State Department of

Commerce as an accountant, but his monthly salary was not

reasonable and there were no incentives to boost his morale.

He resolved to travel to the United States of America if the

opportunity arose.

Tim's parents, Shawn and Destiny were high school

sweethearts. Their friendship began when they were senior

students in high school. Both were eighteen years old at the time.

Destiny studied Sociology at a University in her country and

obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. She got an admission

for an advanced study in Sociology at the time of her graduation.

She was awarded a Master’s degree in her field of specialization

at the completion of her academic program.

She got an employment in her State Department of Social


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Welfare nine months after her postgraduate study. Tim's parents

were African American Immigrants who travelled to the United

States of America in search of a better life. Tim's dad, Shawn was

helped by his paternal uncle, Godwin to migrate to United States

of America. His uncle who was a resident of United States of

America applied for his visa through a Visa Lottery drawn by

United States of America Immigration Office for the people of


Luckily, Shawn was one of the successful candidates that were

selected from his country. He promised to marry Destiny and

got engaged to her before he migrated to United States of

America. He was an affable and kind man. He was a man of

integrity and transparent honesty.

On his arrival to United States of America, he worked

diligently to have economic emancipation. Making transition in

a foreign country was not easy for him but as soon as he became

a little comfortable, he went back to his country and married his

high school sweetheart, Destiny as promised.

He applied to United States Immigration Office to bring her

to America. The application process took about one year before

Destiny was granted a visa. Shawn paid one thousand eight

hundred and fifty dollars for Destiny's round trip flight ticket

from Lagos, Nigeria to Sacramento, California.

Destiny's parents and siblings organized a sendoff party for

her a week before her departure. There were plenty of foods and

drinks. Everyone ate to his or her satisfaction. Friends and wellwishers

gave her words of advice at her party.

On the day of her departure to America, her siblings, friends

and co-workers escorted her to the airport to board a flight. She


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was scared of flying in an airplane because this was her first time.

Her first flight was from a local airport in her state to a big

city in her country called Lagos where she boarded an

International flight to United States of America after three hours

of layover. She was terrified when her plane ran at a very high

speed on the runway to take off. She felt as if her heart ran

through her mouth to vanish but she gradually overcame her fear.

Shawn did a couple of menial jobs in United States in order to

survive and put food on the table. He worked as a security guard

in a parking lot for a while and also as a cashier in a convenience

store. The challenges of making a transition in a foreign country

were enormous and overwhelming for Shawn.

He and his wife had to deal with cultural differences and

diversity in America. They spoke with a foreign accent and

pronounced English words differently and many Americans

found it hard to understand them. Some Americans disliked and

disrespected them because of their accent. They came to the

realization that United States of America is a conglomeration of

people from all over the world and that these individuals have

diverse beliefs and culture.

It took quite a long time for Destiny to get her first job in

United States of America. She got her first job to work as a

waitress in a restaurant six months after her arrival to America.

She was very excited to earn the American dollars for the first

time which had much greater value than the currency in her

country of origin. She was paid five dollars and fifty cents hourly

for a forty hour shift per week. Fortunately, she made extra

money on tips and made up to fifty dollars on tips each week.

She worked at this restaurant for a year before her husband got

her pregnant. Their first baby, Tim was born at Hanford


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Community Hospital and he weighed seven pounds at birth.

Destiny took a six week maternity leave before she went back to

work. She drove Tim to a daycare daily before going to work.

His parents started teaching him how to read and write at the

age of three. When he was five years old, his parents enrolled him

in preschool. He started kindergarten at the age of six. He was a

good and likable child. He showed high level of intelligence in


Tim's father made him develop interest in basketball at a very

young age. He started teaching him how to play basketball at the

age of five which became very beneficial in Tim's life. He

purchased a small basketball hoop for him.

His dad never wanted him to play American football because

he felt that it was a dangerous sport at that time. He never gave

him the exposure to play football. When Tim was ten years old,

his dad taught him how to play soccer and tennis. He liked both

sports but not as much as he liked basketball. Tim's parents had

a baby girl when he was two years old. His parents gave her the

name Emily. He was very excited to have a sister who he played

with most of the time.



When Tim was in Seventh grade, his parents relocated to

Fresno, California because his dad got a new job to work in

Accounting Department of a County in Fresno with better salary

and benefits.

Tim had mixed feelings about the relocation because of the

friends he would miss. He had his best friend Joseph who he hung

out with and played with in his school. Joseph was sad that Tim

would be gone. He usually played basketball with Tim and Tim

frequently dominated most of their basketball competitions.

There was one sport that Tim could not beat him in and that

was running 100 meters. Joseph was a fabulous athlete and he ran

very fast. Later, he ran 100 meters and 4 X 100 meter relay for

his high school and university.

Joseph also played basketball for his high school and

University but was not drafted by the American National Basket

Ball Association Franchise to play professional basketball. He

was an intelligent person and he realized his ambition of

becoming a famous lawyer. He was a very good swimmer

because his parents taught him how to swim at a very young age.

He taught Tim different styles of swimming in a pool and


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helped him to be a better swimmer. Tim's family was happy that

his dad got a job with a more rewarding salary than his previous

job. They liked living in Fresno, California because of more

availability of amenities like entertainment centers, shopping

centers and schools. Fresno was more developed than Hanford.

Two advantages that Hanford had over Fresno were that it had

less crimes and less car traffics because of its population as a

small town. Tim's parents enrolled him in a new public

Elementary School in Fresno. He gradually made new friends at

his school and in his neighborhood.

A couple of months after their relocation, his mom got a job

to work as a Social Worker for the State of California. She was

very happy and excited for getting a professional job that had

better benefits and financial remuneration than her former job as

a waitress in a restaurant. Tim's family prayed and expressed their

gratitude to Him Above for His blessings. His family usually

prayed together every night and they had a firm belief that a

family that prays together stays together.

She commenced work as a State of California Social Worker

and she was lucky to have awesome co-workers who interacted

with each other professionally and respectfully. Her colleagues

got along pretty well. Her supervisor was caring, nice and


Tim's dad liked his job because majority of his co-workers and

boss were professional and courteous to each other. There were

only two employees he didn't like because of their ugly attitudes

of showing discrimination and xenophobia at work. He still

endeavored to get along with these two employees that had

unacceptable behaviors.

His supervisor was a good listener who had good


Valentine C. Okonkwo

communication skills and managerial abilities. This nice and

likable boss retired and a new boss was hired from outside their

department. This new supervisor was entirely different in

character compared to the retired one. He was fastidious,

eccentric and vindictive. He lacked managerial and

communication skills. He didn't seem to care about employees

and treated them unfairly. He did not get along with employees

and they were unhappy to work with him.

Shawn felt that it was time to look for a new job and discussed

this issue with his family. They unanimously agreed that he

should look for a new job and encouraged him to do so. Within a

short period, he got a job at the Accounting Department of

California State Department of Transportation in Sacramento.

Tim's family relocated to Sacramento, California. His parents

rented a three bedroom apartment in the northside of Sacramento

for a year and bought a four bedroom house thereafter.

Tim's mom was fortunate to get a lateral transfer of her job to

Sacramento so she was still able to work as a California State

Social Worker.

They noticed that city of Sacramento had an advantage of

having lesser pollen in the air and lesser number of residents that

experienced allergies than the other places they lived. Another

important fact was that an earthquake had never occurred in

Sacramento for the past two centuries during that time so people

regarded Sacramento as one of the safest cities in California.

This fact was probably taken into consideration before

selecting Sacramento as the capital of California. Earthquake is a

natural disaster that is prevalent in California.

Tim had an excellent and commendable academic

performance in high school. He was an honor student. He also


The Quest For Greatness

played basketball for his high school and played at an incredible

high level. He averaged thirty points, ten assists and eight

rebounds per game.

He made friends with people who had good character and

avoided mischievous people that would have negative influence

in his life.

He had good will power and self-control. He never succumbed

to peer pressure. He was a hardworking individual with high


Tim was also a member of his high school athletic team. He

participated in 100 and 200 meter events in high schoo1 state

competitions. He won a couple of state trophies in 100 meter


Tim was a member of the boys scout. He had a rapid upward

mobility as a member of the boys scout because of his diligence

and devotion to duty.

Once upon a time, his scout members went on a camping trip.

They went to a nearby lake around the camping area and

unfortunately one of the scout members got attacked by an eight

foot alligator. The alligator bit and held the boy on his right foot.

The alligator was in the process of bitting off the boy's foot

and Tim intervened. Tim stuck a long nail inside the alligator' s

nose which made it hard for it to breathe and the alligator took

off the grip on the boy, let him go and ran into the lake. Tim

learned how to defend himself against an alligator when he went

on a trip to Gator Land Entertainment Park with his classmates

when he was in Elementary school. He thanked God for

remembering what he learned.

The local newspaper in his city wrote about this accident and

it was also broadcasted on the television. The media gave Tim a


Valentine C. Okonkwo

lot of publicity and he was regarded as a hero.

When he was in the Eighth grade, there was a classmate of his

called Augustine who was a bully. Augustine was known for

abusing his classmates physically by beating them up. During

break time, he hit Tim on the head due to an argument between

them. He fought Augustine, threw some punches at him and

threw him on the ground. Augustine was astonished with Tim's

physical strength. He became scared of Tim and avoided

encountering him from that time on.

Tim and his family lived a good and enjoyable life in

Sacramento. They liked having parties and inviting family

friends and co-workers. They liked to barbecue, eat and have

merriment. They were social and their residence was a beehive

of activities. Tim enjoyed the comfort and company of his


Sometimes, Emily, Tim and their parents would play tennis

together. At their leisure on weekends, they would go swimming

or boating. Tim's dad was a very good swimmer just like an

aquatic animal. He bought a nice boat and some weekends he

would take his family to a lake to fish and have fun. They usually

caught different types of fishes which their family used for meals.

Fishing had economic benefit for them because it helped them

save money that should had been spent on buying fish at the

grocery store.

Sacramento weather is awesome and snow does not fall in any

part of California except on the mountains. Outdoor temperature

sometimes gets to triple digits in Summer time but the weather is

usually not humid.

Tim's parents chronic problem of communication persisted

because of their accent and some Americans found it hard to


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understand them. Usually, it is almost impossible for immigrants

who migrated to another part of the world at adult ages to lose

their native accent and this was the case with Tim's parents.

The inability to communicate clearly in order to be

understood caused frustration to them. They had high level of

proficiency in English but their enunciation of words was

different from that of Americans.

Tim and his sister, Emily didn't have problem of

communication because they were African Americans that were

born in America.

Their parents did not have much knowledge of American

culture because they were born oversea and they grew up there

so they had to learn the new culture. They had awareness of their

cultural differences and were willing to adjust.

Tim's father was very outgoing and fun to be with. He liked to

drive his family periodically to a casino in Reno which is in

Nevada State to have fun and gamble. Sometimes, they would

drive to a casino in Carson city, Nevada or Lake Tahoe which is

in California to gamble. They preferred going to other cities than

Lake Tahoe in spite of the fact that Lake Tahoe was the closest

city where they gambled and the reason was because the road

from their residence to Lake Tahoe was very steepy. They did not

care about the proximity of Lake Tahoe to their residence

because it was scary to drive on the road that led to it.

The primary compelling reason while they liked going to a

casino was to have fun and the financial benefit was secondary.

On a Saturday, during a Summer time, Tim and his family

went to a casino in Reno. They lost a total of one hundred dollars

at the casino while playing a game called wheel of fortune and

another game with a money slot machine. When they were about


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leaving the casino to drive home, Tim decided to make a last

gamble with twenty five cents which he inserted into the money

slot machine. Contrary to their expectations, Tim won three

thousand dollars and this was a manifestation that he was a very

lucky person. They were full of joy and excitement and they felt

that Tim was a blessed person. They drove home happily. It was

one of the happiest moments in their lives.

People perceived what happened as a divine incident. One

Spring time, Tim's family drove to the casino in Reno again to

have fun and gamble. It always snows heavily in Reno during

that time of the year. People usually drive with chains on their

car tires whenever snow falls in Reno because roads are sloppy,

slippery and dangerous to drive on Nevada was a fun and liberal

State at that time and it was not unlawful for people to walk on

the streets with uncovered bottles of beer. The road that leads to

Reno from Sacramento is surrounded by a deep valley which is

about 300 feet.



There was a massive storm when Tim's family was driving

home and snow was severely falling. A sign was placed on the

highways by Nevada State Department of Transportation that all

roads had been closed. Tim's family decided to take the next exit

on the highway to look for a motel and suspend their trip till all

roads were safe to drive on.

Unfortunately, they did not find an exit before they got to a

particular dangerous spot on the highway which was very

slippery. Some accidents occurred at this bad spot because a

couple of drivers lost control of their cars.

All drivers had to put chains on the tires of their cars to avoid

slipping off.

Individuals who considered it difficult to install chains on

their car tires by themselves paid professional people who were

on the road side soliciting for business and charging people a

certain amount of money to do the installation because they

specialized in doing it.

Tim's dad stopped his car and came out of it to put chains on

his car tires by himself. He was not aware how risky that spot on


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the highway was. While he was trying to install chains on his car

tires, an oncoming Toyota Four Runner SUV model skidded off

the road and lost control due to the slippery condition of the road.

The Toyota SUV narrowly missed smashing Shawn's head- on

the car wheel as he was putting chains on a tire. This could have

caused a fatal accident.

The Toyota SUV hit a man who was installing his own chains

on his car tires in front of Shawn and knocked him down. The

man was unconscious and his wife was crying hysterically while

a compassionate spectator dialed 911 for an emergency rescue.

Paramedics rushed to the scene of the accident with an

Ambulance van and rushed him to a nearby hospital. The couple

was coming back from a casino in Reno to their residence in

Roseville, California.

Tim's dad abandoned installation of chains on his tires after

that accident. It dawned on him that it was very dangerous to be

on the side of that road at that moment putting chains on car tires.

He paid specialists who installed the chains for him.

He and his family walked away from the side of the road and

stayed by the bush until the completion of the chain installation.

They continued driving home after the chains were safely

installed on his car tires.

When they drove for a short time, Shawn' s car skidded off the

road despite the fact that he was driving with chains on his car

tires. There was possibility of his car plunging into the deep

valley but fortunately it hit big snowballs between the roadside

and the valley and veered towards the left side. The snowballs

miraculously blocked his car from falling into the deep valley.

There was an oncoming truck during this accident but Shawn


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quickly swerved his car and avoided collision with the truck.

They were lucky to avoid an accident that could have been

severe and fatal. Shawn took the next exit on the highway and

they rested for a couple of hours. They continued their trip as

soon as the road became clear.

When Tim was in junior high school, he fell in love with a

classmate of his called Samantha. She was pretty, attractive and

affectionate. She was a good friend of Tim and they had no sexual

relationship. She was still a virgin at that time.

Samantha's parents relocated to San Francisco after her junior

year in high school because her father accepted a new job offer

as a Hospital Administrator of a Health Maintenance

Organization (HMO) hospital. This was a more profitable job

than his former job.

Samantha relocated with her parents and three siblings. Tim

and Samantha could not maintain a long distance relationship

while in high school so their friendship met its doom.

Shawn was very committed and loyal to his wife. He was

dedicated to their marriage and they were a happy couple. A coworker

of Shawn called Sandra had a strong admiration for

Shawn and an irresistible desire to have a sexual relationship with

him. He resisted the temptation and never succumbed to Sandra's

desire. She was a beautiful and an attractive woman. She was a

single parent of a ten year old girl.

She invited Shawn a couple of times to visit her at her

residence but he declined to do so. She also invited him to eat out

with her in a restaurant but he refused because he did not want to

be involved in an extramarital affair. He felt that having a sexual

relationship with another woman while married is inappropriate

and it is an indication of moral decadence. He decided not to let


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his co-workers know about Sandra's attempts to be with him

because he did not want to damage her reputation and jeopardize

her job. He was able to keep what transpired between them secret.

Tim's family was actively involved in a church. His mom was

a member of their church choir and she had a fantastic melodious

voice. His sister was determined not to have a baby outside a

wedlock and did not have a boyfriend in high school.

Emily, Tim and their parents lived a decent and humble life.

He had a good family that was worthy of emulation. His parents

taught him and his sister their native language early in their lives.

They involuntarily assimilated the information given to them and

learned their native language when they were young. They also

learned English language. They were very proficient in English

because their parents taught them the importance of reading and

looking up words in a dictionary. They were rich in their

vocabularies and this was of tremendous benefit in their

academic advancement.

Tim and Emily liked their native language despite the fact that

it was complicated and hard to learn. They studied it

conscientiously and diligently until they thoroughly had a

mastery of it.

Tim's dad was a long distance runner . He trained hard and

participated in a marathon competition at Boston in State of

Massachusetts . He had become an American citizen at that time

so he represented United States of America and got the fourth

position. He was beaten in the race by two competitors from

Kenya and one competitor from Ethiopia which are countries in

East Africa.

Long distance athletes from East Africa have been dominating

marathon competitions in United States of America and at the


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Olympics for decades. It is speculated that the reason for their

dominance is due to the fact that they live in high altitudes.

People are not sure whether there are other causative factors

that make people from East African countries excel in marathon


During a certain time, Tim's family planned to have a vacation

in their country of origin. Tim and Emily would visit their

country for the first time during this vacation. They were thrilled

and full of joy about this journey because it would afford them

the opportunity to meet their grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts

and other relatives. Additionally, it would enable them to learn

more about their country of origin. Tim was fifteen years old at

the time of the trip.

His parents made a lot of preparations and shopping in

anticipation of their memorable summer vacation. They bought

new clothes for themselves and their relatives. Their luggage

exceeded permitted standard weight that they had to pay extra

fees in penalty in compliance with United States Aviation


There was no direct flight from their residential state to their

destination during that time. They boarded Northwest Airline

from Sacramento International Airport to St Paul Minneapolis

where they changed to another airplane called KLM Dutch

Airline that flew internationally to Amsterdam.

The KLM airplane was big and had a capacity of

accommodating two hundred passengers. It was a very long flight

that seemed endless. They watched movies on televisions that

were installed in the plane and also listened to music. They slept

most of the time to get a much needed rest and to have time pass


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by. The flight from St. Paul Minneapolis to Amsterdam took

about ten hours while the one from Sacramento to St Paul

Minneapolis took only three hours.

Amsterdam International Airport is one of the largest

International Airport in the world and flights to various parts of

the world are connected from there. Tim's family met people that

were waiting for connecting flights to places like London,

Nigeria, Liberia, India, Tokyo, China and Taiwan. They had a

layover for about four hours at Amsterdam International Airport

before boarding a flight to their country of origin.

The delay at Amsterdam for a connecting flight was the aspect

of their trip that they disliked. The restaurants at the airport did

not sell good nutritious and tasty foods. They ate burgers at

McDonald's restaurant. They were hungry at the time their plane

took off for its destination to Nigeria.

Within a short time of taking off at Amsterdam International

Airport , it began to fly across the Atlantic ocean which is not far

away from Amsterdam. When the plane was running on the

runway to take off, it seemed as if it would not be able to lift itself

up in the air because of its large size. Within few minutes the

plane was airborne and flew at a high speed.

Massive turbulence occurred persistently for about twenty

minutes as the plane flew through Atlantic ocean. The pilot was

very experienced and he maneuvered the plane by descending to

a lower altitude for a while and ascending to a higher altitude

afterwards. Tim and his sister were extremely scared because this

was their first time of flying in an airplane. The turbulence

vanished after some time and the plane then continued to fly

calmly and smoothly.


The Quest For Greatness

They flew at an altitude of about 32,000 feet and watched

movies, rugby and soccer sports. Rugby and soccer are common

sports in Europe and are usually shown on the television of the

KLM Dutch Airline.

They arrived at the International Airport of their destination

within six hours. They walked through the port of entry and

showed the required passports to the Immigration Officers of that


They proceeded to the section of the airport where baggage

was being collected. They experienced an incredible hardship at

the baggage collection section because it was very hot and

passengers were sweating profusely. The air conditioners seemed

to be ineffective and malfunctioning. They felt that officials who

ran the affairs of the airport of that developing country were

nonchalant about human suffering and cared less about the

comfort and health of their citizens. Tim and Emily observed that

the people of that country did not care to follow rules and were

very disorderly. They violated rules with impunity because Law

Enforcement Agents did not enforce laws most of the time.

Corruption was very rampant in that developing country and Law

Enforcement Agents took bribes and freed violators of laws.

They took a taxicab to drive them from the International

Airport to a Local Airport where they would board a flight to

their state. They noticed that car drivers were impatient and so

much in a hurry.

They drove recklessly, overtaking each other through wrong

lanes during a traffic jam. They made traffic situation worse by

not obeying traffic rules.

Commercial Van Conductors were shouting on top of their

voices, the names of the cities they would transport passengers to


Valentine C. Okonkwo

in order to draw their attention and picked up passengers on the


Sometimes, Agents of State Department of Transportation

fined commercial vehicle drivers for unruly acts but they still

condoned the rules.

They usually sped off when they saw a Government Agent or

they would give a bribe to him in order to prevent him from

performing his duty of enforcing the law.

Tim and Emily were flabbergasted with the magnitude of

corruption, chaos and disorderliness in their country of origin.

They wondered whether these problems were similar in other

developing countries all over the world.



Hawkers were selling snacks and fruits on the roadside,

sometimes obstructing traffic when cars were driving slowly due

to traffic jam. They were shouting the names of the fruits they

were selling such as groundnut, cashew nut, banana and mango.

Tim and his sister were baffled with the way policemen were

abusing their positions by harassing, intimidating and taking

bribes from citizens. These law Enforcement Officers were paid

low salaries so they depended solely on monetary bribes to make

ends meet. They noticed that uniformed police officers were

stopping oncoming vehicles with guns drawn and pointed to

drivers just to ask for their driving documents. This was

ridiculous and a creation of an unnecessary scene. They

intimidated drivers, took monetary bribes from them and let them

go without caring to examine the driving documents.

Few good things that caught their curiosity were the quality of

fruits and meats in that country. They noticed that some fruits

like banana, mango and guava which they ate had a better taste

and were sweeter than the ones in United States of America. They

thought that this might be due to two reasons. The first reason

might be because the fruits were not plucked off their trees until


Valentine C. Okonkwo

they were ripe. The banana changed its color from green to

yellow while on its tree indicating that it was ripe before it was

plucked. The mango and guava changed color from green to

yellow or red depending on the species showing that they were

ripe before being plucked off the trees.

The second reason might be because they were not grown with

fertilizers and growth hormones. The chicken in their original

country also had a better taste than American chicken. They were

naturally bred without the administration of antibiotics and

growth hormones. They did not have the tendency to cause


The cow meat there also had a better taste than the one in

America. It took them fifty minutes to fly from the Local Airport

of the capital of their country to their state.

They spent a night in a motel, rented a Toyota Sienna Van and

drove to their village the next day.

They liked countryside because it was calm and cool. It was a

much needed place for relaxation and they had a good rest.

Everywhere at the village looked green with trees.

They met their grandparents with excitement. Their

grandparents told them a lot of stories. Tim's parents gave their

grandparents money and gifts. They also gave gifts to their

uncles, aunts, cousins and relatives. They attended some

traditional ceremonies which afforded Tim and his sibling the

opportunity to learn the culture of the people. The ceremonies

were very informative and exhibited their cultural heritage. They

attended a traditional marital ceremony of one of their cousins.

This traditional marriage ceremony was held on two separate

occasions in compliance with their tradition.


The Quest For Greatness

On first occasion, the bridegroom paid a visit to the bride's

family on a weekend with required amount of money , wine, beer,

soda and bottles of water. The fiancé was accompanied by his

relatives and the fiancée invited her relatives to her parents'

residence in her village where the ceremony was scheduled to

take place.

The bride' s family and relatives cooked various kinds of foods

to entertain the bridegroom, his relatives and the bride' s relatives.

It was a very happy day full of social activities and merriment.

On next occasion, the bride went to the bridegroom's

residence with her relatives. The family of the bridegroom and

his relatives helped him to prepare different kinds of foods for

their guests and for themselves on this remarkable occasion.

Beer, liquor, soda and water were also served and people drank

to their satisfaction. Finally, a religious wedding was held at a

catholic church on another weekend because the bride and

bridegroom were Christians. A priest conducted a wedding

church service for a religious union of the bride and bridegroom.

A reception was subsequently, held at a big reception building

owned by the church with a capacity of three hundred people and

an estimate of one hundred and fifty people were in attendance.

The Master of ceremony (MC) for the event was introduced

and program of activities distributed. The MC introduced the

Chairman of the occasion and the DJ whose responsibility was to

play music for entertainment and dance. The Chairman of the

occasion made an impressive opening speech and welcomed

everybody. His speech drew a thunderous ovation. The bride and

bridegroom in company of a best man, chief bridesmaid,

bridesmaids and other people, walked slowly in procession from

outside of the reception building to inside.


Valentine C. Okonkwo

Foods and drinks were served in abundance. A couple of

people made speeches and advised the married couple to ensure

that peace, love, loyalty, forgiveness, reconciliation and

tolerance exist in their marital lives. The bridegroom was an

affluent and a famous real estate magnate. The bride was a high

school biology teacher. Guests gave them different kinds of gifts

in accordance with their societal tradition.

Tim and his family also attended a tribal annual Cultural Day

Festival of his people which was celebrated at the palace of the

King of their hometown. This cultural extravaganza was a

historic and memorable event. Different cultural exhibitions

took place on that day. This annual cultural festival is celebrated

in order to revive and commemorate their cultural heritage. On

that day, various cultural dancers and masquerades danced

gracefully and entertained spectators. Plenty of foods and drinks

were served which was a manifestation of ostentatious lifestyle

of the people. It was a day of joy and merriment for everyone.

They went to a graduation party of a relative who graduated

from a University. Tim and his sibling were impressed with

communal efforts, kind gesture and generous attitude of their

people. They talked to their relatives and learned from

conversations that Government never got involved in helping the

less privileged in that country. Relatives of poor people helped

them financially through communal efforts and this situation was

quite different in United States of America where the

Government provides financial assistance to the poor through

Government Assisted Programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

They went back to America at the end of their vacation. It was a

hassle to get to the International Airport which was about five


The Quest For Greatness

hundred miles from their hometown. They boarded a commercial

motortruck that drove them to a Local Airport in their state where

they took a fifty minute flight to the International Airport.

Their flight to United States of America commenced at 11.00

pm and they arrived at Amsterdam in the morning. They slept

most of the time as their plane flew through the Atlantic ocean.

They connected another flight from Amsterdam to St Paul

Minneapolis which was their longest flight. They boarded their

last flight at St Paul Minneapolis and the airplane landed in

Sacramento, California which was their final destination.

While residing in United States of America, they became more

appreciative of what they had. They appreciated the fact that they

had basic amenities like electricity and constant water supply

unlike in a developing country. There were constant power

interruption and scarcity of water during the vacation in their

country. Water and electricity were rationed and people used


They came to the realization that they had a better life in

America because they were fortunate to have a Government that

was functional. It was obvious that the American Government

had better accountability and transparency.



Tim was offered an admission at Harvard University in

Boston, Massachusetts to study law prior to his high school

graduation. He was awarded a scholarship to play basketball for

his University. His parents had a sendoff party for him at their

home. Friends attended the party with gifts. Plenty of foods and

drinks were provided by his parents. Guests ate and drank to their

satisfaction. They gave words of advice to him.

He arrived at Harvard University in Fall season to begin

studies. He was impressed with the cleanliness and healthy

atmosphere of the city of Boston where Harvard University is


One issue he was worried about was that it is usually very cold

in Boston during Winter time. Snow falls severely and

temperature can drop to minus thirty degrees or less.

Tim was a voracious reader, a diligent student and an athlete.

He devoted his time to his studies and sport of basketball. He had

a lot to study and he was overwhelmed with the voluminous law


He knew that the challenges of accomplishing his objectives

were enormous. He was aware that his goals could be attained


The Quest For Greatness

through diligence and tenacity.

He studied hard and maintained good grades. He was a special

player and he distinguished himself playing for his University

basketball team. He was the best player in his team despite the

fact that he was a freshman. He played the guard position in

basketball and his ball handling with low number of turnovers

was fantastic and commendable, he averaged high number of

points and assists per game. Tim had high basketball intelligence

and he was fun to watch in a game.

In his sophomore year, he fell in love with a woman at his

University who became his girlfriend. The woman 's name was

Cassandra and she was studying psychology. She was a nice,

pretty and benevolent woman. She was reliable, loyal and

somebody Tim could confide in. She won Tim's heart and their

relationship continued to grow stronger and stronger.

Tim's journey to greatness blossomed and reached its peak

after his graduation from his University because he was drafted

by an American Franchise of National Basket Ball Association

(NBA) to play professional basketball.

His dreams and aspirations were realized and he was very

thankful to God. He considered himself very lucky to be one of

the few people drafted out of thousands of players.

The day of the draft was memorable and it was one of the

happiest days in his life. It is a well-known fact that professional

sports in United States of America are a guarantee to economic

empowerment and gigantic financial success. His girlfriend,

sister and parents accompanied him to the historic and

remarkable NBA Draft Ceremony.

They made adequate preparation for this important lifetime



Valentine C. Okonkwo

His father bought a brand new suit for Tim and himself. He

also bought new clothes for Tim's mother and sister.

They were well dressed on the day of the draft ceremony and

Tim wore a nice gray suit with a blue bow tie. The coordinator of

the event announced Tim's name as the second player drafted. He

studied diligently for his State law License Examination after the

draft and passed before the NBA basketball season began. He

chose not to practice law for the meantime in spite of the fact that

he was licensed to be a lawyer in his residential state.

He rolled his sleeves and started work by playing professional

basketball which he had a passion for. He was aware that

professional sport was very lucrative and concentrated in playing

basketball. His Basket Ball Franchise signed him on with twenty

million dollars for a five year contract.

At the inception of his professional career, he bought

Mercedes 500XL Sedan for his parents and another one for

himself. He also bought Lexus 470XL SUV for his sister, Emily

and BMW 750XL sedan for his girlfriend, Cassandra. He paid

cash for all the cars purchased without obtaining any car loan.

He proposed to his girlfriend and married her within one year

of commencing his professional career. They had an ostentatious

and societal wedding.

He performed so well as a professional basketball player that

made him to be selected as a member of the American NBA All

Star Team in second year of his professional career. He was

selected as a member of the American NBA All Star Team for

ten consecutive times in his career which was an indication that

he was one of the best basketball players ever known in his era.

He signed a new contract with his franchise for thirty million

dollars for seven years after the expiration of his first contract.


The Quest For Greatness

Obviously, business was booming for him and things went well

as he wished. He also had another source of income from

commercial advertisements that were made with him. Nike and

Coca Cola companies used him for advertisements.

He diversified his investments in different businesses when he

was at the prime of professional sport and earned huge income.

He established a mortgage company, a wireless telephone

company and purchased many rental houses. He became a rare

gem business colossus and a big investor. He amassed

tremendous wealth and became very rich.

Tim retired from playing professional basketball after

eighteen years of professional career. He was inducted into the

American NBA Hall of Fame. He enjoyed the induction, and

everybody had lots of fun at the event. His family and friends

accompanied him to the induction ceremony.

He became a community activist and a political aspirant after

his retirement from professional sport. He ran for an elective

office to be a United States Senator in his district. He won the

Senatorial position with a landslide victory. His fame and

character played a vital role in his victory. He was an affable,

generous and kind gentleman. He participated actively as a

Senator to make the lives of Americans better. He was a man of

transparent honesty who was an advocate of judicious fund

spending and accountability by Government officials.

He won his Senatorial position four consecutive times before

he retired from politics and exited the United States White house

on a good note.

His sister graduated from College of Medicine at Boston

University. She did her residency to specialize in a particular

field of Medicine at New England Deaconess hospital in Boston,


Valentine C. Okonkwo

Massachusetts. She specialized in Gynecology and became a

renowned Gynecologist because of the good qualities she

possessed. She had the brilliance, patience and compassion to

deal with patients and these are essential qualities needed for

efficient delivery of health care.

She fell in love with a fellow physician she met at New

England Deaconess hospital while she was doing her specialist

course. They got married one year after they knew each other.

Her husband's name was Jeffrey and he specialized in Internal

Medicine. God blessed them with two children, a boy and a girl.

They decided not to have more children because it is a lot of

work to raise children and she devoted a lot of time to her

professional career.

Tim's dad passed away at the age of one hundred and four

years. His corpse was flown back to his original country and

buried there according to his wish. His burial ceremony was

performed in compliance with his native culture. Different

cultural exhibitions were displayed at his funeral.

Twenty rifle shots were fired in the air on the day of his burial

as a tribute to a great man like him. A rifle in his original country

called double barrel was used for firing the shots.

Two cultural dance groups also performed gracefully with

acrobatic displays at the funeral. Tim's uncle explained the

meaning of the cultural exhibitions to him and his sister.

Later, his mom passed away at the age of one hundred and six

years and her corpse was flown back to her country of origin in

accordance with her wish. Tim and Emily flew with her corpse

to their original country and they were welcomed by their uncles

aunts and relatives. They helped them prepare for their mother's

burial ceremony because they were not very familiar with their


The Quest For Greatness

cultural burial requirements. Their mom was given a befitting


Tim was inspirational to many people and he was a model to

his children. He and his wife had five children. Three of his

children were boys and two were girls. His wife delivered each

baby at the hospital naturally with no difficulty.



Tim was a good man who indulged in many philanthropic

ventures. He made numerous donations to the poor and charitable


He had close calls to death a couple of times but God protected

him. During his fifteen year birthday, his parents took him and

his sister to Folsom lake to celebrate.

They rented a Kayak for Tim which he requested. A Kayak

is designed like a small canoe. Tim sailed on the lake with the

kayak by using a paddle to propel the kayak. The kayak capsized

about two hundred meters away from the shore. He was rescued

by a lifeguard who swam to the scene. The kayak was recovered

about forty meters away from where it capsized.

Once upon a time, he boarded an airplane to fly from San

Francisco California to Boston, Massachusetts in order to visit

his sister. San Francisco International Airport is very close to

Pacific Ocean that once an airplane completes its run on a runway

and becomes airborne, it will be flying immediately across the

Pacific Ocean.

The airplane he was flying on was already running at a high


The Quest For Greatness

speed on the runway to take off and the co-pilot’s window

suddenly broke and opened due to a mechanical problem

consequently allowing air to rush into the airplane. This was a

big commercial airplane with a capacity of about one hundred


The pilot slammed his right foot on the plane' s brake and four

rear tires of the plane burst. There was a lot of smoke in the plane

and it ran uncontrollably into another runway as it was speeding.

Passengers didn’t have a clue what went wrong and were very

terrified. They screamed in despair with anticipation that they

would have a plane crash. Eventually the plane was brought

under control by the pilot and it came to an abrupt stop few

meters away from the Pacific Ocean.

The conventional procedure of handling an emergency

situation of this kind is not to obstruct the plane for a takeoff at

such a fast speed but to perform an emergency landing on top of

that nearby ocean.

The brave pilot chose not to adhere to the scary conventional

procedure rather he resorted to an unconventional procedure by

smashing his foot on the brake of the plane and still saved lives.

Every passenger was pleased with the pilot and very grateful to

God for saving their lives.

The plane engineers repaired the copilot's window and

changed the four flat rear tires. The plane took off with

passengers after one hour forty five minutes. One day, Tim had

an unimaginable incident of being held at a gunpoint by an armed

robber. It happened when he stopped at a gas station in south

Sacramento to buy gasoline for his Mercedes car. While he was

pumping gasoline into his car, a masked man in his twenties

rushed to him, pointing a pistol on his forehead, shouting at him


Valentine C. Okonkwo

to surrender his car key. He complied with the armed robber's

order and surrendered his car key without resistance.

The armed robber drove away his Mercedes car. Fortunately,

an individual who witnessed the robbery when it was taking place

expedited action in dialing a police station. He gave the license

plate number of the Mercedes car.

Policemen that were patrolling in that neighborhood were

alerted by their office. A pursuit ensued between two policemen

and the armed robber. He was caught and arrested within thirty

minutes. Tim's Mercedes car was intact and not wrecked.

Sometimes, a stolen car ends up in a bad wreck so Tim

considered himself very fortunate. He got his car back that day.

He told his family about the robbery and they prayed

collaboratively, thanking God for His mercy and divine


Tim's first son Mark was not a talented basketball player. His

hobbies were tennis, soccer and reading. He was studious and an

erudite person. He gained admission into Harvard University to

study Medicine. He specialized in surgery after his graduation.

His specialty study was done at Massachusetts General Hospital

and he became a famous surgeon. He got married to a Nurse and

they had four male children.

Tim's second son, Kingsley was as talented as his dad in sport

of basketball. He was offered an admission to study Business

Administration at Stanford University in California and a

scholarship to play basketball.

He was drafted by an American NBA franchise to play

professional basketball after his graduation. He distinguished

himself in professional sport like his father which made people

believe that genetic inheritance might have played a vital role. He


The Quest For Greatness

was one of the finest NBA players of his era and he was selected

as one of the NBA All Star players for eight consecutive times.

He married an Associate Professor of Political Science and they

had three children, two boys And a girl.

Tim's third son, Phillip graduated from Ohio State University

in department of Law. He married a Dentist and they were

blessed with two children, a boy and a girl.

He became an Attorney and a politician. He had monumental

accomplishments in politics.

He won a legislative position in his State two consecutive

times and served for two terms. Furthermore, he won a

gubernatorial election and served his State as a Governor. He was

reelected for another term of office as a Governor when his tenure

of office elapsed.

Tim's oldest daughter, Tiffany graduated from Princeton

University Medical College in New York and became a


She married a Physician who specialized in Family Medicine

whom she met at her Medical College. They had four children,

two males and two females.

Tim's youngest daughter, Vanessa obtained a PhD in Clinical

Psychology from University of Central Florida, Orlando. She

became a Professor of Clinical Psychology. She got married to a

Law Professor.

All Tim's children graduated from a college which could be

attributed to good family upbringing.

One of Tim's accomplishments was the establishment of a

basketball training program in Sacramento, California where

children were taught how to play basketball efficiently. Some


Valentine C. Okonkwo

participants of this basketball training program turned out to be

professional basketball players.

Tim passed away at the age of one hundred and eight years.

He was buried in Sacramento, California which was his place of

residence. He left a legacy and his memory would live with his

people. Apparently, longevity existed in his family. His wife died

at the age of one hundred and ten years. She was also buried in

her residential city of Sacramento.

Suffice it to say that Tim made a transition from the status of

a nonentity to that of a famous and affluent person in society. He

utilized his fame and wealth to elevate his parents from a middle

class status to an upper class status. He made donations to

charitable organizations and his philanthropic contributions are

commendable and worthy of emulation. He awarded scholarships

to some poor students. He mentored a lot of people and helped

them have success in life.



The Author, Valentine Chike Okonkwo is a Pharmacist in the

United States of America. He is a prolific and freelance writer.

His marvelous novel is inspirational, thought provoking and

greatly entertaining.


Valentine C. Okonkwo

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