Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Randomness that is Honduras

So, our first day in El Suyate, Mary, Alice, Elizabeth, and I somehow managed to join the town soccer team. I’m not really sure how it happened, but after getting settled into our new rooms, we all wanted to see what El Suyate had to offer. We came across the soccer field and we joined in what we thought was just a fun game of soccer. It turned out that the game was actually practice for the girls soccer team. The girls asked us if we wanted to play in their game on Sunday at 1 pm in Los Limones (another community nearby). We agreed, not really thinking we would play or that it would be anything official . . . until they gave us uniforms and told us what positions we would play! I was told I was going to play Volante, (I wasn’t sure if I should tell them that even if they had told me my position in English, I wouldn’t have known what it was!). Luckily, Mary played in college and told me that basically my position means I want to play the middle of the field and that I should run a lot.

(From left to right, Liz, Mary, and me after tying the game.)

When a soccer game is said to start at 1 pm in the states, usually it starts around that time. When a soccer game is said to start at 1 pm in Honduras, that means carry on with your regular daily routine and then at 1 pm start wrapping up your previous activities, get dressed for the soccer game, eat lunch, meet up with your team, chat a little bit, drive to the field, pick up people along the way, chat some more at the field, eat a snack, maybe get a warm-up started, find a referee (and a ball), and then finally start the game at 3:30 pm. On Sunday, Mary, Alice, and I (Liz had other plans for the day) were dressed and ready at 12:30. If the fact that we had uniforms didn’t make me nervous enough already to play a sport I hardly know the rules for, the fact that we picked up half the town on the way to the field sure did! It turns out the girls soccer games are more popular than the boys soccer games here (don’t ask me why). One family has made it a tradition to sell snacks and refreshments at the game. One guy even came with his ice cream cart!

It was about 87 degrees around 1 pm. Maybe around 89 degrees when our opponents finally showed up (around 1:45 pm) and probably over 90 degrees when we finally started the game (around 3:30 pm). What took so long? Well, besides everything I mentioned above, the other team was short two players and so we had to designate which one from our team would switch and then which boy from the crowd could be their goalie. After that, we had to designate who would be the referee. The town bolo (drunk) who started to drink before we left for Los Limones started shouting that he wanted to be referee. Good thing Tristan brought his soccer ball to our game otherwise we would have had to spend another hour or so looking for one since neither of the teams brought one. As we were standing on the field with the whole sideline cheering for “Los Bambis” (our team), Mary whispered to me, “How the hell did we get here? This is definitely one of those situations that you never expect to find yourself in”. No joke!

After 90 minutes of running around in 90 degree heat, the game ended as a tie, 3-3. I almost died from heatstroke out there and at the end of an hour and a half of running around and pushing and shoving, there’s not even a winner?! Although I was frustrated by this fact at the end of the game, I definitely have a lot more understanding and respect for soccer players now.

Group huddle


Shade said...

LOL. Things like that happen in Central America. In Nicaragua, I ended up teaching an English class a couple times a week, and for the life of me i could not tell you how that happened, something about me agreeing to help one of the younger boys with his English homewrok. If you were in the center and running a lo, you were probably center half-back (other names for that position include mid-feilder or just center mid). But yeah, YAY for soccer. Its an amazing sport, and if you get the hang of it you can impress tons of people in Central America. Though a little advice, if they try to get you to play on a freshly ploughed feild, dont accept, its like running in sand, you get exhusted super quickly, and end up tripping all the time and just generally look like an idiot. Though it is a good way for the community to get comfertable with you, I had the entire town laughing at me my first week in community in Nica because I fell over a couple times while playing.

Sam said...


Great piece on your soccer experience. In fact, all of your blog has been very entertaining and informative to read so far.

Zola and I had a great time in the Wallowas with your mom and dad. However, I did have to hold your dad's hand several times when we went through the rapids on our Hell's Canyon raft trip. He also thought the 22 mph excursion train ride throught the mountains was like a Japanese bullet train. I did my best to provide him with emotional support often telling him to repeat aloud WWCD (What Would Courtney Do?).

Take care.

Sam Miller