Every wednesday our school has an evening soccer game, students vs teachers. I, of coarse, had to sign up to play. Now, I have not played a real game of soccer in 10 years. The last time I had played a real game was when I was studying abroad in England, where we had pick up games a few times a week, which we took somewhat seriously. So my own expectation of performance was low, and the embarrassment factor high.
The game was scheduled for 8:00 pm, which means that play would last way past my bedtime, insuring that my performance not be too sharp. Not to mention, I had a 5 mile run at 6 am, and a full day of classes, homework, and conversation with my host mama. After dinner with mama, I headed out alone, onto the dark, dusty streets of Samara. I had a hand drawn map from Julio, one of the teachers, that accurately depicted the back streets of the pueblo, pointing out landmarks such as the river with crocodiles, and the helado shop. The picture depicted a path off the road with curly swirly trees.
One can see all the equatorial stars, since there are no big cities near by, just the emptiness of the Pacific ocean. The moon was almost full, illumination the roads. About half a mile into the stroll to the game I met up with 3 other American students, 2 guys and a gala, who had gone to undergrad together, and had meet up to do some Central American touring together. They were tossing around an American football, which scared me a little - I cannot play American football. But they had only brought along the ball for fun, in case the futbal game didn't work out. Their fears were misplaced; the field was a professional indoor style, placed outdoors, meaning a half sized field with AstroTurf and field lighting.
About 12 students showed up for serious play and about 6 teachers. We made up 3 teams of 5, with the remainders tagging in and out when someone needed a breather. Two teams play, winner play the third. I ended up as keeper, since 1. I am old, and 2. No one wants to be keeper. I actually impressed some folks; I could overhear others saying I was pretty good. Truth was, I did some very good saves, when I did not use my hands. I was not great, but I held my own, and think that next week no one will reject me from the team. I did play wing a few minutes here and there to give someone a breather, but my sprinting is not so good.
The teachers won all the games, but us foreigners gave them a run for their money. We played till a team scored 3, and our first game was close and ran 30 minutes, which, on a half field is tough and fast play. And this is central America; it was 90 f and humid. My team consisted of me, 2 other Americans and 2 Swiss. None of us were used to the heat and humidity. We looked as if we had just come in from a rainstorm.
On the walk home I got to speak to my teammates from Germany, Switzerland, and Quebec. Annie, from Quebec, barely speaks English; our common language is now Spanish. She and I are taking a trip to Monteverde and Arenal volcano this weekend. With Spanish our only common toungue, my Spanish will be forced to improve.