Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Football in Skirts

Saturday October 17th 2009 I began my Ghanain football coaching career. I got up at 5:00am rode my bike 2 miles out to St. Francis High School to find an empty dirt field, two goals with no nets, some girls washing clothes and none of my football players. So here I am, discouraged, annoyed, tired, with my bike and notebook of drills and exercises and all for nothing. Thankfully the American teacher lives right next to the football field so I decide to go vent to her (hoping she’s awake). Mid venting to Joan by 6:00 some girls come knocking on the door, “Miss, Miss we’re ready for training”. So I go out and ask the girls what time they were told to meet. They say 5:00. My captain, Niima, is smart-in Ghana when one schedules a meeting it is important to tell people it starts at least a ½ hour before you actually want to start so you can start on time. They tell me they were tired and were sleeping and that next time I should wake them up. I turn into my mother at this point and say, "Am I your alarm clock? No." They thought that was hilarious. None of them have alarm clocks. By 6:15 about 21 girls show up. Tired and complaining the girls are all in skirts or dresses with flip flops- but they’re there. I now feel myself turning into my high school soccer coach and I lecture them on the importance of showing up on time. How they scheduled the meeting time and how I’m volunteering my time to be there with them etc…

So first we warm up. Some jogging, crunches, pushups, stretching. I’ve realized I won’t be able to do any really long runs yet since they don’t have shoes and I’m not sure what we ‘re gonna do about that. Then I bring them to a wall and I teach them wall sits or chair sits. I love these. They quickly realize they don’t love them. We do 30 sec. and they are practically ready to run away from the wall. But I’m like, no, 30 more sec. After this I have them do a competition, to see who can last the longest. Well now they can do it for over 3 minutes. They suddenly became very strong. They had a good time cheering on their friends who were lasting the longest and making sure everyone’s legs were at 90 degree angles.

After exercises I knew we needed to have some fun and since our only 3 footballs are all flat I have them play link tag. Well, I have learned that tag is not universal. It took about 10 minutes to explain but once we got going it was great and they had a good time.

Finally I went over passing with them. Different ways to pass the ball, how they should trap the ball (which they call breaking) and I threatened that if I saw them passing with their toe they would owe me 10 pushups. We formed two lines and practiced passing with both feet. Overall they did well, especially for being in flip flops and skirts. We’re having our next practice this Saturday so I am figuring it out as I go. Small small. :)


  1. Hurrah! I believe I did say, "I'm not your alarm clock." Probably "Chop, chop" too which conveys, hurry, hurry. Christine, the night owl, was always the slug getting up in the morning. Chloe, Miss Weiner, barks to greet the day. Chloe has become your father's alarm clock. I yell, "Chop, chop" and Chloe comes running so we can do the morning business outside. Chloe is so tough barking to bark. 21 girls is a great show especially when girls playing soccer is not so culturally accepted. On Friday, 10/16/2009,U-20 boys FIFA Ghana beat Brazil in a shoot out. Ghana has athletes--girls and boys! I have your birthday gift in the mail sent 10/19/09. Hint: it is flat picked up at UM soccer game, a pump with needles, and Joe Boxer socks--Grandpa says get men cotton socks--so I got you anklets, mostly cotton with spandex/poly blend. Play red rover-red rover send Niima over. Play blindwomantag in teams: one seeing and directing to their blind teammate to go tag another blind person to get that team out, frozen tag, goose, goose duck, any American childhood game. Love, Mom

  2. I bought a new purse today & when I cleaned out the old purse I found the Ghanian coin you sent me. So I had it all the time. What a relief. Hope your football team is going well. What do you call yourselves? Lots of love from Grandma & Grandpa.