In 2006, inventor and songwriter Tim Jahnigen was watching a CNN documentary about kids in Darfur who were using balls of trash to play soccer because the balls they use are always quickly destroyed, and that gave him an idea – “I’m going to make a soccer ball that can’t be destroyed.” And unlike 99% of people who have such ideas for cool inventions like this, Jahnigen actually followed through with it and spent the next several years developing his new super ball. It also helps that he’s friends with Sting, and when the former Police frontman isn’t getting down with some tantric sex, he’s trying to save the world. Over breakfast in 2007, Jahnigen told Sting how kids in Darfur love playing soccer and he had this idea for a ball that would never go flat or break, so Sting was all, “Quit your job and work on this.” And Jahnigen was all, “But it’s going to cost me, like, $300,000 or something like that” and Sting was like, “Hold on” and he reached into his back pocket and pulled out $300,000 for him and thus One World Futbol was born. That’s kind of how it went, but I’ll let Sting explain it.
“When [One World Futbol co-inventor] Tim Jahnigen came to me with his idea for a football or ‘soccer’ ball that could be played on any surface and would never need a pump and never go flat, I immediately thought of all the millions of children and young people who could use the ball in refugee camps, conflict zones, and poor communities all over the world.” (Via)
Jahnigen and his blue balls are back in the news this week because he’s out promoting the 5th generation of this soccer ball, as his PopFoam idea is closer to perfection than ever. And while it’s not the most pressing news in the world, it’s still pretty inspiring to read about – like in this feature in the Sydney Morning Herald – because it’s nice when people use sports to do good things. So until Jahnigen’s “Buy One, Give One” campaign propels him into a nude freakout on the side of a San Diego street, he and Sting should be celebrated. It almost makes up for “Desert Rose”. Almost.