What’s it called? Partidos de paz, el copa de la paz…Juegos de paz? How about The Global Peace Games…
November 10, 2012 was our day to celebrate (and demonstrate) peace, friendship and non-violence through sport and as you know our sport is soccer. This year, we were able to coordinate a tournament consisting of all girls; a total of 10 teams participated and was a great opportunity for our girls to compete against other female teams from Granada.
At 6:00 am, Larkin and are were preparing for the tournament, which meant bumpy rides in the back of a truck, holding onto 10 foot goals for dear life. As we drove through the city the tips of the goals were nearly close lined by power lines and there were more than one occasion where Larkin and I nearly flew out of the truck…Despite this risk, by the skin of our teeth beat the girls to the field and finished setting up…Thank goodness.
Before the tournament began, Hassell introduced us to the meaning of the Gobal Peace Games and asked confirmation from the 100 participants that they would play with good sportsmanship, respect others and share a day of soccer. Each team had a poster with a map of Nicaragua that read within it’s borders, “yo prometo respetar la vida, recharzar la violencia, escuchar para entender, compartir con otros, proteger el planeta y contribuir al desarolla de la comunidad.” “I pledge to respect all life, reject violence, listen to understand, share with others, protect the planet and contribute to the development of the community.” And from that point on we were witnesses to blossoming friendships among girls across Granada.
The tournament lasted over 4 hours with the sun beating down and non-stop problem solving, not to mention I was so preoccupied that I forgot to apply sunscreen. The climate of this place sometimes just makes you not want to do anything so I was very impressed that the girls had the ganas (will) to play all morning. Within that I was proud to watch each and every girl play, the girls who normally at practice say, “Mady, no quiero jugar” or sneakily run off the field during scrimmages, they played non-stop, they had mastered good passes and actually communicated on the field AND had awesome attitudes.
All the girls hard work at practice, patience and discipline brought them many wins that day and two FSF teams took home the 1st place trophies…not that the day was about winning, but seriously never underestimate the power of a trophy. One of my many favorite moments that day was when Larkin and I were riding back to the field to finish clean up and we saw Kelly on the street holding up the trophy her team won with a look on her face that was telling us, “WE WON!” It doesn’t sound as funny writing this but you should know it was hilarious.
The Global Peace Games was a pivotal growing point for the girls and for myself. It was an emotional weekend of relief that I no longer had to plan the tournament but more so the overwhelming pride that I had for the girls, they accomplished so much and could move mountains with the energy they have. On the ride home, Larkin and I were again in the back of a truck and somehow, the magic of time lined us up so the bus full of our girls was behind us. My heart was filled with joy as the girls were wildly chanting, “GANAMOS, GANAMOS, GANAMOS!!!” oh the poor bus driver… but what’s sweeter than a kids smile and their excitement for the little things?