Fútbol. Soccer. Whatever you call it I knew when we decided to come to South America that I was going to have to learn how to play sooner or later. Here in Chile, they are not into fútbol as much as perhaps in other countries, but that doesn't mean they don't love it. I hadn't actually had the opportunity to play until June came around and the church had it's first tournament.
So I decided that I'd go ahead and play with the teens figuring that being on a young team probably wouldn't be too bad. We were called the Tigres Blancos (White Tigers) and I was totally mistaken. We played on Sundays after church, five games in total. The first Sunday I was sick, but I went along to watch and take some pictures. It didn't appear that hard and I was optimistic. To make a long story short, we lost all five games - 13-3, 17-3, 9-4, 8-4, 5-4.
It wasn't pretty, but I was encouraged by a few things.
- We stuck together as a team and got better. After every game there was talk of quitting, but we fought through difficulties and not so great attitudes and kept going. The last two games we were actually winning for the majority of the game but couldn't pull it out.
- We had fun. Having fun is super important in life. It can be so easy to be boring and serious, but we ended up having a great time. I'm sure that we could have had even more fun if we would have won, but we're saving that for next time.
- I (sorta) learned how to play. We were playing "baby" (fútbol), a version that is played on a shorter court, kinda like a tennis court. I'm not great, or even good, but I did grow in my understanding and feel like it was an important learning experience for my development as a missionary! And I even got a medal for participation. Amazing!
This last picture is of the winning team, Los Pinoguachos receiving their trophy.