Henry and Lucas are playing soccer on one of the Rancho teams. The ages of the boys are 8-11. It’s a little different than the games in the
Going to a boy’s league game in the
On the Away games in New Hampshire “The Exeter Express” arrives in their parent’s minivans, one child to a family van, in the lovely little New England towns with the turf covered soccer field. The boys all wear brand new uniforms, and everyone has their new season cleats and shin pads. The parents line up around the field each with their own fold up chair. The parents must sit on the opposite side of the field so as not to annoy the coaches and the players. All of the mom’s bring snacks and plenty of fluid. Many of the boys have their own bottles of Gatorade. The coaches are trained to give everyone equal playing time. All abilities play in the younger leagues.
Going to a league game in
We heard we were supposed to leave from the Ranch on a bus at 7 am from the vocational school, but no one ever really knows. We ended up leaving in a van at 7:45 from the boys’ hogars. There were 27 of us packed into the
Toyota van! I had one boy sitting on my lap and four packed next to me in a three person seat. (At
Exeter we are only allowed to put 15 in a much larger vehicle and everyone must wear their seat belts.) Breakfast didn’t arrive in time for the boys, so all came along with empty stomachs. We did have some donated uniforms, so they all put them on in the van on the way to the game. Everybody who had shin pads shared one of their’s with another. Most everyone ended up with one shin pad. We arrived a half an hour later in the town of
Talanga. Talanga is a dusty, dirty town with unpaved streets. On the street we passed several pigs, humping dog packs, and giant oxen pulling carts. It rained last night so there were huge mud puddles all over the streets. Garbage is everywhere. When we arrived at the dirt/mud soccer field everyone seemed to be staring at us. I don’t think they see too many gringos around here, never mind soccer playing gringos!
The name of our team is the “Pre-moscas.” The “Moscas” is the older boy’s team. “Mosca” means “fly” in English; therefore, our team’s translated name is “The Maggots!” Our coach has had no sensitivity training. The boys were standing around helping the coach decide who should start and the coach said, “Only the really good one’s… Who are the really good players?” Henry was chosen to play while Lucas had to sit out for the first half. Even though Henry is eleven, the same age as a lot of the others, he is at least a head taller than everyone else. One boy only comes up to Henry’s stomach! Many of the boys we brought along could not play because they don’t have birth certificates to prove their ages. I supposed when you are abandoned by your family, no one gives you your birth certificate to carry along. Sigh.
Of course, none of the boys or coach brought any water. Luckily we brought some to pass around, and we brought some oranges. The boys practically beat each other up at half-time for the oranges. The game was pretty ugly: NPH 0- Talanga 6 . Considering they haven’t practiced together yet, they did okay. Henry and Lucas both did well. It’s a good thing. We need to break the stereo-type that Gringos suck at soccer! The other team had lots of fans, our team just had us. I guess when you don’t have any family around, you never have fans. The boys all seemed to be glad to have us there. We can’t wait until the next game!
Pregame huddle. Henry is the blondish, tall one! 🙂