Influencer Frits Meursing

Interview February 2023

Could you share with us some information about your family life?
I was born in Curaçao. My father used to work at the military ‘De Schutterij’ and my mother used to wash and iron clothes. I come from a family of 14 children, 3 sisters, and 10 brothers. Three of my siblings have passed away.

I am the father of 7 children, 5 daughters and 2 sons. My daughters are the most loving and kind people that you can imagine.

I was raised by my grandmother and her partner Piet Evertsz at their home at theNikibokoweg in Otrobanda. They gave me so much love and care, and this has made me a very compassionate person that has excellent people skills. When I was 17 years old, my grandmother fell ill and then I went to live with my mother back. Piet was a health worker and as an operation nurse he was a very dedicated, caring person and that affected me positively and made me also become a loving person. I still have a lot of his traits like him, for example, I love reading, I collect and keep lots of stuff, I am an idealist, I love photography, I love history, all these things he taught me. Btw both of us are born in June.

How did your passion for sports start?
I was very young, 4 or 5 years old when I first saw people playing football and this triggered my interest that later became my passion. I was always one way or the other involved in sports, different sports. I played basketball and was a top scorer in all the games I played. I was a keeper in football, and I was spotted by a Brazilian trainer back then, Da Cunha, he once told me that I could become a very good keeper.

There were two memorable moments in my career that I would like to share, once as we were playing Da Cunha came at was standing behind my goal. This made me nervous. And as a player was entering the 16 meters area, Da Cunha told me “You are sleeping” this triggered me to get out of my goal, where I lost my footing momentarily and miraculously caught the ball with my two hands the attacking player tried to lob the ball over me, Da Cunha walked away didn’t say a thing.

Another moment was in El Salvador in 1963 Norceca Championship games during training when the people of the club were attending the training were watching me. I prayed the day before that all would go well. More or less the same happened I went out to stop a player entering the 16 meters area, I lost my footing, and they tried to lob it over me, so I made two steps backward, raised my hands, and caught the ball. The people of the club were impressed and offered me a contract later on. So my two missteps were my stepping stones.

The lesson I learned was: Stay focused and let no one distract you from doing what you need to do.

We were preparing to play the Noseca: Norte Sentro y Caribe-gamesin Salvador and it would be a showcase for me to show off my skills. Da Cunha suggested I go and play for Centro Dominguito, as I could get playing time which would be beneficial for me, to improve my chances to be selected in the selection. Playing in Centro Dominguito we won from Vesta and stayed in the highest football division in Curaçao.

In the tournament, we became number three and after the games, some team officials from Deportivo Marquense approached me and offered to come to a play in Guatemala.

This was after the memorable win in Jamaica where we won gold in Los Juegos Centroamericanos y del Caribe and were called the Brazilian Youth Players of Curaçao. We had been playing together for 4 years and that made us strong as a team of the Netherlands Antilles under the age of 23 years. But we never made it to play in the Pan American Games as the local federation decided that the A-team would go to Holland and because there wasn’t enough money we never went to the Pan American Games. This was of course a very frustrating moment for us all. I was thinking that the first team that came and offer me a professional contract I would take.

The officials of Guatemala from Deportivo Marquense offered me to continue to go to school, they just had opened a new stadium, and they would pay me USD 500 while the director of the school was earning USD 110.

Bear in mind during those days there were only magazines and books I was a reader and I had read a lot of magazines and books, so when this delegation showed up, I immediately accepted.  I have had ti to play just for the fun of it in Curaçao, and my ambitions and dreams were much higher.

Could you share something about your educational background and your experience?
After primary school, I went to secondary school at the Sint Thomas College, and later on, went to Vocational School at the Shell, but both were not my thing, so I ended up discovering my second passion besides sports and that is photography. I started learning photography at Photo studio de Vries and later on moved to the studio of Fisher, learned from other top photographers like Spencer and Viltjes, but combining this work with sports was a big challenge as I needed to travel a lot as a football player.

When I decided to go to Deportivo Marquense, Hector Weber was very helpful. His son helped me pack my bags and I left for Guatemala on my own via Panama in April 1963, where although the migration officer was kind, I was forced to go in quarantine for some days and when I finally arrived in Guatemala again I met someone helpful. As a sportsman, people are helpful anywhere you arrive. This person in Guatemala mobilized the press and the officials of the Ministry of Information, and officials of Deportivo Marquense from San Marco, for a photo shoot and I stayed in the capital for one extra day before taking a 4-hour drive to San Marco and saw the stadium named after Marquesa de la Ensenada.

Because of my delayed arrival and the height of San Marco, 3500 meters above sea level, I had to adjust to this level and couldn’t start playing immediately, which happened rather easily because of my excellent condition.

The place is frivolous. I lived in a hotel, trained some youth, and went to school and I loved “convivir”, the we-culture in Guatemala. I also needed to adjust to the food I could eat. I stayed there for two years and went back to Curaçao.

Back in Curaçao, I experienced that my pro-activeness is not appreciated by all. I was selected but became a reserve player and Ostrid Curiel helped me a lot during those days. They wanted to break me and punish me because I had decided to sign a contract with Guatemala, without their consent.

My lesson learned: You need to have a psychologist or mentor to talk with even at my age I feel this need.

Can to tell us something about your years in Holland?
I had a brother that has already left for Holland. In those years, lots of local people went to Holland to work.

I went to Holland and started my sports education at the Football Training Center of Philips.

I was mentored by a trainer called Dumoulin. He was the youth trainer and keepers trainer of PSV and he was a very technical trainer. But I had difficulties adjusting to the cold weather, but I developed a very good relationship with Dumoulin. When he moved from PSV to Eindhoven, I went along with him. After a while, I decided to subscribe and went into Military Service with the idea to become a sports instructor. As I was in military service and signed up for 5 years, I specialized in swimming, baseball, and softball. Any sports that had to do with a ball.

I was being myself until one of the officers told me the following once:
What you say that you are is not important;
What you think of yourself is not important;
What you show us who you are is important.

I stayed in the military service for three years, after finalizing the sports training in the military service, I applied and got recruited to work at a Youth training center at Weert. My mother lived in Weert. After that, I moved to Amersfoort and later on to Hoogmalen.

But after a while, I applied to work at an after-school institute, the Bisschoppen College, where I worked for some years and when it was time to leave, the gym was full of former students and students, expressing their appreciation for the work I have done for them at this school, that had over the 1100 students and over 100 teachers.

I was handed over a certificate, underwriting my distinct sports qualities and people skills, the next day, basically, the morning of the day I was traveling to come back to Curaçao as the director of the school was so impressed by the number of students and the warmth expressed by these students. This earned me the name “Baron van Weert”. The regional newspaper “Land van Weert” in 1977 published this on my departure out of Weert: “Years after he have left, former sports students kept sending cards and letters to Frits and that is why they suggested to call me “ Baron van Weert”.

Back in Curaçao, I was fortunate enough to follow different courses in different parts of the Americas and I made so many new contacts and made so many friends with lots of people in the region involved in sports.

In Curaçao I got involved with Rob Groenen, I worked with him and after a budget request for a meager Ang 70.000,- was rejected by the authorities, I wondered and asked myself “what I was doing here” in Curaçao and I decided to go back to Curaçao. I used a lump sum that was offered by the government and went back to Holland in 1990, a little disappointed.

What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be who you are right now?
The realization of my dreams is my WHY. Starting with deciding on my own to go to Guatemala, this was not welcomed by the Football establishment at that time. But I have always been a loner in the way I would think about things. I knew a few like-minded people.

Ultimately I became to learn this lesson, that people don’t necessarily respect won choices that you want to make, they prefer that they decide for you.

After I came back from Guatemala I experienced being excluded systematically when new selections were formed and I was the reserve keeper, while I had better credentials and experiences, and then suddenly Jaap Ki-On, a police detective and sports journalist at Beurs- en NieuwsBerichten, showed up in my life and suggested to me to leave and go to Holland. I also met Ostrid Curiel and we talked a lot he also mentored me and gave me a book ‘Mensen onder elkaar’. That helped me on my way to continue to work on the realization of my dreams.

We human beings are wired to collaborate, it is impossible to achieve great things in life without the help of other people that is what I am convinced of.

But great things happened as I went to Holland, out of nowhere Dumoulin came into my life, and Van Gelder the secretary of PSV.

What are your plans for the coming years, do you plan to travel more? 
I want to continue doing what I am doing. My body is recuperating its strength as I arrived back in Curaçao after visiting Chili and Argentina. The great climate we have here on the island, fresh air, and the sea. My aches are gone and I want to continue my traveling, although my children don’t want this, I plan to visit Guatemala next, 60 years after I first started my professional soccer career there. 

What are the challenges that you are dealing with? And how are you dealing with these different challenges you confront?
During my last visits to Chile and Argentina, I became very aware of how many contacts I have developed over the years. I would like to share this with our Youth. The other one is experiencing how many people in my age group have issues with their health. But on the other hand, one has no control over no one, right? It is what it is. 

How are you trying also to keep up with your knowledge and skill levels?
I read a lot, like this book, I am reading now ‘Afscheid van de dingen’ by  Maarten Mourik. Although at times I wonder where did this book come from and then suddenly I noticed it and I start reading it.

What are your strengths?
My ability to connect with other people. My curiosity, which is not even triggering me to study Hebrew, to better understand the origin of Christianity.

Do you have hobbies or interests that you are also passionate about?
Of course, sports, traveling, photography, spirituality and reading.

How would you describe Frits in one word or one sentence?
A realist and a non-conformist, because it is always possible to do something better. I am an adventurer and my children call me an adventuring knight (‘Avontuur ridder’) Fritzie Boy. My motto in Holland and in the whole world is: ‘Wie zich zijn eigen weg baant door de wereld hoort eens in het leven zijn eigen lied’, Ronald Holst. Those who plough their own path in the world, will someday in their life hear their own song. This I read at the front wall of the train station in Eindhoven.

And in sports I had another motto: ‘Inspraak ben je bedonderd. Over mijn lijk! Wij bespreken de organisatie (spel) alle tactische en strategische plannen en samenwerking in de voorbereiding.’ Participation, are you mad or something? We discuss the organization, all tactical and strategical issues, the collaboration during our preparation and that is it! 

Who are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career?
First, and foremost Piet Everts, my stepfather, and my grandmother. The love and care I got from them have made me become the compassionate person that I have become.

Hector Weber from Sithoc, helped me to get my first professional contract in Guatemala. He was also very helpful when I came back from Guatemala and I play in Sithoc for some time, it was a caring environment in Sithoc, and I continued growing personally but there was a limit to what they could offer me, as I was ambitious and wanted more.

The well-known Ergilio Hato (De Zwarte Panter) together with Edmund ‘Sol’ Confesor that was the trainer of the Youth selection of the Netherlands Antilles in 1962 when for the first time we became champions and winners of the gold medal at “Centroamerica y del Caribe”- games back then.

Jaap Ki-on a police detective that was also a sports journalist for the Beurs-en Nieuwsberichten suggested I go to Holland if I wanted to continue with my career as a soccer player.

In Eindhoven, the secretary Van Gelder, also was like a kind of father figure to me as he also could correct me when needed. He once gave me an envelope of 1000,- dutch guilders to attend the World Championship in 1966 in London.

Dumoulin became my mentor as I continued my career in sports in Holland.

What is a trait that is still a work in progress?
Accepting that our stay on the Earth in this life is temporary. I believe all of us, at a certain moment, can use a psychologist, to help elderly people age.

What was a defining moment in your life?
Going to play professional soccer for the first time in Guatemala.

What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends, and others to say about you let’s say when you celebrate your next Birthday?
They will say that I am a happy man.

If I can make it, they can make it. As I have explained, I played a Centroamerica y del Caribe-game final in Kingston Jamaica in front of a crowd of 20.000 attendees that mostly supported us, as we beat Mexico 3 – 0 representing the Youth team of the Netherlands Antilles. When our youth becomes aware that this political climate where we live now, is not conducive to dealing with the challenges we face, things will change.  

What makes you stay optimistic about the future of Curaçao?
Living in Curaçao is great, we have clean air to breathe and we have the sea,  that is why I live here. We do have our challenges though, we are bad at effectively communicating with one another and this makes us circle without making any progress in dealing with all the challenges we face. That is the downside. On the upside, I believe in our Youth. We have talented people in Curaçao.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?
I am blessed to have been able to be appointed to The Hall of Fame in Curaçao for two sports, Basketball and Football. I have traveled a lot, I have visited or lived in all the bigger cities in Holland and I have visited countries in all the continents of the world Australia and New Zealand.
So I am grateful for that and after my recent visits to Chili and Argentina, I am planning to visit Guatemala coming April.

Video tip: Interview with Frits Meursing in papiamentu

One of the 250 Influencers

Frits ‘Fritzi Boy’ Meursing is a curious, spiritual, strong-willed sportsman, photographer, father, and well-prepared technical trainer, coach, and teacher in different sports, as long as there was a ball involved. His lifelong learning attitude during his life, his willingness to be coached and mentored, open to advice from those who crossed his path syncronistically and cared for his development, and his vast own experience as a practitioner of different sports have made him an expert in his profession and a very liked person among his students. The different courses he has followed over the years have also made him a very connected person, that because of his strong love for traveling which has brought him to countries all over the world in all continents
except Australia and New Zealand. During his whole life, he has been living to realize his big dreams. This made him take the bold decision to become a professional football player and made him leave his jobs, like from Curaçao to Holland and from Holland to Curaçao, back and forth, when he felt like he hit a detour in his life. From a very early age, he has been involved in multiple sports and this has been recognized recently. He has been appointed to the Hall of Fame in Curaçao in Basketball and Football. His long and impressive career was partially due to his never-ending passion for the sport and his excellent people skills. This mix has continuously opened doors when he wanted to achieve his dreams. Because of his ‘Joi de vivre’ and his vast experiences over the years, we consider Frits one of the 250 Influencers of Curaçao, representing the Sports sector. Look at the list of the Influencers we have interviewed or reported on, up to now. Look at the list of the Influencers we have interviewed or reported on, up to now. 

The goal of the core group of Share2Uplift for 2023

The goal of the Share2Uplift movement is to: “Identify 250 leaders from all walks of life to connect, align and create impactful changes in all walks of life, which includes intergenerational collaboration by the end of 2023.” We will use interviewing Influencers, meet-and-greet events, “train-the-trainers”-programs on “Emotional Mastery” and “Intentionality “as national intervention strategies, to reach this goal on top of our goal to scale up the possibilities to connect, align and create impact via a virtual platform. We believe that by collaborating with Miguel Goede on the virtual Vision 2030 platform, we will accelerate the possibilities to connect the diaspora and others elsewhere in the world and on the island willing to constructively create impactful changes in Curaçao, to join.

As Share2Uplift, we are fully trying to align with this thinking of Center for Curriculum Redesign to promote this agenda in our educational systems and workplace. So, in that sense, we fully support any initiative to make our educational system 21st-century proof.

Share2Uplift aligners are those that:
– Create an inspiring vision of the future;
– Motivate and inspire people to engage with that vision;
– Manage the delivery of the vision;
– Coach and build a team, so that it is more effective at achieving the vision. These criteria are now being polished.

We also consider these 5 values the most important ones for Share2Uplift aligners. They are:

• Peace from within;
• Compassion;
• Respectfulness;
• Integrity;
• Responsibility.

As we will progress towards this goal, we will update you on the progress.

Personal coaching tips

This week we will share some short videos on the benefits of sports. We will upload one of these videos every day on our page.

The Olympics, FIFA, and why we love sports: Crash Course Games #17 – YouTube

Nelson Mandela’s Iconic Speech – “Sport has the power to change the world” – Full Version – YouTube

How playing sports benefits your body … and your brain – Leah Lagos and Jaspal Ricky Singh – YouTube

Central America and The Caribbean – (Around The World Series) – YouTube

Psychological and Social Benefits of Sports for Kids – YouTube

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