I am being blessed with decent internet access this second, so I just wanted to update you all on the epic soccer game that took place this morning. My neighborhood is a square apartment complex, with a large open center. This middle area has a small metal gazebo and is usually occupied by men who smoke cigarettes and size me up as I pass by on the way to the school. This is where the soccer game took place, and was it ever epic! After many introductions and requests (more like demands) by the older boys to do pull ups on the gazebo in order to prove my manhood (thank god for my “Body by JMart”!), Nate, Dan and I formed a team with many of the younger kids and played against the older boys. Goals were formed with the poles of power lines and big rocks, and play was stopped every few minutes or so to allow women and speeding taxis to pass by. The game grew into a 10 on 10 battle, with another 20 or so older men and younger kids looking on. The boys were all fantastic, but I am proud to say that we pulled through with the upset. I think the score was 10-9; that was of course after one of the older boys joined our side! Either way, everyone had an amazing time, and everyone insisted that we play again next Sunday! It looks like I’ve made a few new friends! It also looks like I need to buy a few soccer balls! I am pleased to have made my way into what seems to be the main circle of teenage boys in the community; this bodes well for future YD projects! They are fantastically energetic, intelligent, and polite young men. Next objective: get to know the women and girls. This is sure to be a far more challenging task!
PS: Following the soccer game, I spent the afternoon learning about the techniques of wrestling, the national sport of Azerbaijan. Great fun!!!