Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Nepali Soccer Game

We took the older kids to a soccer game in downtown Pokhara. The Nepali national team was playing the best kids team (age 19 and younger), and the stadium was packed. The soccer field has just as much grass as dirt, and the stadium was large concrete steps on one side of the field. We showed up 45 minutes before the game to get good seats and watched the crowd fill in.

There is no concept of a capacity limit in Nepal. Whether it is public buses, motorcycles, or soccer stadiums, a maximum limit does not exist. People upon people came onto the concrete steps to sit down leaving no rows or aisles. If we wanted to move during the game, we would have had to step on people's thighs to get out. Once no one else could physically fit onto the steps, people started to sit on the ground around the field. By the time the game started, there were as many people sitting around the field as there were on the concrete.

Most of the fans wanted to see the young kids beat the professional team. The fans were roudy, yelling, and laughing at each others comments. I have never seen a closer soccer game in my life. After 90 minutes of play, the score was still 0-0. Once no one scored in double overtime, the game went to a shoot out. Five players from each team took a shot. The first four players on each team all made their shots. Unfortunately, the fifth player on the young kids team missed the shot, and the game went to the professional team. The younger team had several opportunities to win during the game including a shot that bounced off of the goal post, but in the end they could not score a goal.

The orphanage kids wanted the professional team to win, so we cheered opposite each other the whole entire game. They loved rubbing their victory in my face after my team lost. After the game, we walked a half an hour back to the orphanage, again hand in hand. I sang "The ants go marching one by one" the whole way home, and they loved it.

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