Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Afternoon Football

Before coming to Huay Pakoot, I had heard through the grapevine that there was a group of villagers who played football daily. As someone who has played football for almost 19 years, just graduated from playing soccer competitively and was within football withdrawal I was hoping that I might be able to jump in occasionally and fill my football void in-between times with the elephants. Little did I know that playing football here would become one of my favorite things (right after the elephants) about living here.
The first time I showed up, a girl foreigner who knew very little of the local language, pakinyow, I don’t think the villagers knew what to expect. But they were open and friendly about letting me play. Despite not being able to speak the same language and coming from different cultures, we could still play the same sport. From that first day I fell in love with playing soccer with the villagers. Since then it became something that I did as often as I can.

The guys play every day at 5 (aka 6 village time) up at the school. Sometimes there are only 6 people, sometimes its just the regular 10 ish villagers, sometimes there are up to 25 with villagers from the neighboring villagers or Chiang Mai, sometimes everyone comes in full kits and cleats, other times they come in jeans or bare feet or sandals, sometimes the monks show up and play in their robes, sometimes its just me and other times there is a bunch of GVI people that come with me. Every time it’s different, but every time its amazing.

Now that school is out for break, there are many more kids and teenagers back in the village so there are now daily games of volleyball and ta kllah (Thai soccer) as well as the daily football games. Everyday it’s a great chance for us to hang out with the villagers, play sports with villagers or just watch for those who just want to watch.

*Photos by Tina Thorburn