Monday, July 26, 2010

A little more of Just Play

Last week was pretty fun. My office mates and I were out monitoring the “Just Play” program so we were out on the field all week. This made for an exhausting week, but much more fun than being in the office. Last Friday, we had a festival for one of the schools. We set up two playing fields big enough for a 6v6 game and two drill areas and then rotated the kids through so everyone got a chance to do everything. We had three or four groups of around 36 kids each. I was put in charge of one of the games; I could tell the kids were having fun as they were playing. One girl who had already gone through the whole rotation was being ball girl for me and asked if they could go again because she enjoyed playing so much. Unfortunately, the answer was no…they had to go back to school.

We monitored a few other schools in the afternoon. The kids really eat this up. For one thing, it is a treat to have good equipment in which to play. Another thing is we are letting them just play as the name of the program indicates. It’s not complicated or hard…all they have to do is kick the ball around. Sure there are drills and little games, but they get to run around and kick a football around…what kid wouldn’t enjoy that? I do have concerns about the teachers actually continuing the program after we stop monitoring, but at least the kids are having fun for now.

This past year, I was a member of the Football Federation Samoa Disciplinary Committee. We sanctioned players when they broke the Laws of the Game. Usually, this involved punishing them for fighting and attacking referees. Yes, attacking referees…you did read that correctly. I never thought I’d see a referee get punched…you just don’t do that in the States. I’ve seen it more than enough times here and it was considered a good weekend when a fight didn’t break out.

Sanctioning players was a little difficult since FFS didn’t have a Disciplinary Code; we had to use the OFC (Oceania Football Confederation, the boss of all the Oceania countries when it comes to football, like FIFA is the boss of all the confederations in the world) Disciplinary Code. Not everything in that applied here and there was lots that needed to be Samoanized (like putting fines in Tala instead of New Zealand Dollars). So that has been my other job for the past week, writing a code of discipline for Samoa.

It wasn’t all that difficult really; I mostly took what was in the OFC code and changed the NZD to WST and put in some other provisions which were applicable to Samoa. But it is kind of cool to be able to say I wrote it. When I came there was no FFS Disciplinary Code and now there is. It is going to be edited by the rest of the disciplinary committee and the normalization committee, so not like it is 100% all my doing, but still…I’m kind of proud that maybe after 2 years I finally have a lasting something (not many of the village projects were really successful in my book). So be ware all you Samoan footballers…there’s a new Disciplinary Code now, no more fighting!

As of today, I have just 30 days left as a Peace Corps Volunteer. It is still hard to believe my Peace Corps time is up. But I’m starting to get excited about being back in the USA. I really want a bagel, deli sandwich, real BBQ, and Mexican food. So I’m pretty sure all of that will happen the day I get back. I’m going to have to stay off the scales for at least three months after I get back…a sacrifice I’m more than willing to make for all that enjoyment in the belly.

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