Written by Brittany Leitch

Queen of the Field

My heart beats just a little stronger each week when I walk to the soccer field with the soccer girls.  Our team has exponentially improved over the last month!  We are now split into two team, and the past few weeks we have been scrimmaging to learn positions and “real-field-play”.  Most of our players are now settled into semi-set positions, which is exciting for me, and helpful for the girls.  They are fiercely competitive, which provides me with ample opportunities to gently remind them they also need to practice good sportsmanship and support their teammates.  They are learning dynamic stretching, and they can celebrate a goal better than the college team that plays near us.  Edina (co-coach and school teacher) coaches and referees with me, and she is always spot-on with her input and calls.    

Last week happened to be a challenging week!  We started off warming up, and soon began our 60 minute scrimmage (two 30 minute halves).  Towards the end of the first half, Edina had to leave to return to the school.  About that time, one of the boys from the secondary school politely asked when we would be finished playing.  (Important note: though we share a field with several schools, we have arranged to use the field for two hours once a week, so this is no surprise to these kids).  Politely asking quickly turned into complaining when I told him we had one 30 minute half left.  As our second half started, I soon realised I was going to spend the majority of my energy deflecting their hackling and chanting, and continually asking 30+ teenage/pre-teen boys to PLEASE get off of the field while we were playing- in Swahili of course- all while encouraging my girls to ignore them and keep playing.  SO STRESSFUL.  

To their credit, the boys did back off in increments of 3 minutes or so, and I learned while under pressure I can whip out relatively helpful Swahili rebukes to keep the boys in their place. I succeeded in keeping a majority of them off the field for most of the second half so the girls could finish playing.  It’s too bad the girls had to deal with their bad behavior, but I’m glad they were able to finish their scrimmage!  When my watch his “60:00” I cannot tell you how fast I got off that field with our team.  That might have been the most stressful 30 minutes of soccer I have ever been a part of: keeping a unruly heard of boys off the field for 30 minutes straight, trying to speak Swahili, with no other adults in sight!  AHH!!!  I felt like I was playing “King of the Hill”!  Turned out to be a growing experience for me, but none the less, next week I am bringing reinforcements.  :) 

Our scrimmaging teams: “B” & “A”
Warming up..
Waiting for the game to begin.. Look in the back of the picture, and you’ll see our unique goal!

Post-scrimmage pic a few weeks ago.