Friday, August 5, 2011

Hanging with the locals.

Instead of having Team & Coach Relationship Class at the end of the day, most of the teams have now switched to playing games with each other. Yesterday, I chose to play soccer with the Red Team, some Coaches, and a few teenagers who have nothing better to do than hang around camp all day. I'm not quite sure why they feel the need to school eleven year olds in soccer all day, but they do. During shooting practice, they always run up behind the kids and steal their ball to score. And then during games they tower over the kids, with the American coaches towering over's usually a high-action game that ends with somebody falling over.

I've never really played soccer in my life, except for fun when I was younger. And even then, I didn't really get the hang of it. The ball didn't go straight, and I couldn't run with it well. But one thing I've always been great at is defense. I can run down the field and get the ball away from just about anybody. So yesterday I joined in on the fun. The jerk-fourteen year old had just stolen the ball away and was bobbing down the field with the ball. When he got close enough to the goal that I was the only other player he had to pass, he tried to dribble through my legs but my mother's old wisdom of never keeping your legs spread too far in a game brought me quickly back into the game. I snatched the ball away from him and launched it towards my teammates on the other end of the paved field.

But instead of the ball going up and over. It just went over. Straight over, right into the crotch of the jerk fourteen year old. Keeled over, he wasn't laughing anymore. Lauren - 1. Vietnamese local - 0.

Later in the game I was running down field with the ball and passed across. Except another fourteen year old jerk sprinted to it before Lindsay could. He stopped it with his feet and was about to pass it to the teste-less Vietnamese when we both lunged for it at the same time. Next thing I knew, I was on the ground and he was somewhat under me, legs tangled to bits. I stood up, gave him the okay sign and helped him up. For the next five minutes he showed everybody the tiny scratch on his shiny pants and the slight marks on his arms. Meanwhile, my knee had been cut for the past thirty minutes from another tumble on the pavement. I couldn't believe he was being such a baby after talking smack to the eleven year olds for the past two weeks. So I played even harder on him.

Act like a prick, get treated like one. That's my motto. (And it's a good thing they can't understand a word out of our mouths because we get a tad bit frustrated sometimes...)

Everytime we faced each other in the game, he would hold his elbow or point to his knee and then make a face at me. So I made a crying baby face and wahh-ed at him. I had to kick the ball down field at one point and he just so happened to get in the way...once again. But this time, he got it in the face. Lauren - 3. Vietnamese local - negative 2. It was an afternoon filled with blood, sweat, and the Vietnamese tears. The camp kids quickly joined in when we saw how badly we kicked the locals' butts in soccer. It was a victory for the little guy in all of us.

Linh and the Lotus flowers.

Today however, the locals were much nicer. He pointed to my still somewhat-bleeding knee and asked if I was okay. I said yep and then he sat next to me and started counting the piercings in my ears. Surprisingly good English for such a jerk. We had a pretty decent conversation for not really saying anything. He asked about the cuts on my arms and I somehow managed to communicate what happened to him, with a few details left out of course. I think he asked me to play soccer, but that's when the lack of speaking became an issue. Maybe the epic blood-bath of yesterday afternoon won me some street-points with the locals.

The locals who wear Tommy polos and shiny black pants everyday.

Rocked the barefoot look for the AM match yesterday, Mizunos in the PM, and today I shall wear my Vibrams! The kids love them.


Peace, love, and the skinned knees of summer!

Dat and the bike ride. Also known as, a date in Vietnam.

PS: I scored a goal on a nice play AND successfully hit the ball off my head to one of my teammates. Basically I was #winning all afternoon.