Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Championship

Two days after I installed the all-Mboro futball league championship game happened in the stadium right next to my house.  I have been amazed over the past few months by not only the amount of talented players there are in the league but also by how much the town rallies behind these games. This one in particular must have had half the town there. Try to imagine 15,000 people cramped into a space maybe the size of a high school stadium and half the seating. The entire dirt field was lined with spectators, many sitting on top of the walls. Kids were running around everywhere, crowds of them waiting to get in for free when they can. There were groups of drummers, dancers, and sellers making so much noise. This combined with the boisterous spectators and an announcer on huge speakers made a collective sound that could be heard all over town. 

So far I've not seen anything like it. I saw a local youth group there the day before putting up tarps for shade. The Senegalese Red Cross was there for medical support. Even the mayors office provided a tractor to transport the speakers and provide other logistical support. I'm starting to see that futball is going to be crucial to work here. This is not just a hobby in town. People expect young men to play and seldom understand why anyone wouldn't want to. Work must be planned around it and opportunities may even present themselves within it. I can see that it gains people respect off the field if they can perform on the field.  For me, I'll have to find some other way to gain that respect. 

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