Monday, August 06, 2007

The Frisbee Tournament

Ultimate Frisbee Tournament

We held the first ever Ultimate Frisbee Tournament this weekend with the 6 secondary schools in the area. I had to tell them to arrive an hour and a half before the competition was to start to make sure they came on time and still I had a team show up an hour late which forced them to forfeit their first match.

I spent the entire day on Friday getting ready for the competition. I bought 3 50kg bags of wheat posho to use as lines on the field. I had to put a total of 1km of lines down to make 3 Frisbee fields. Fortunately Bruno and some kids who were hanging around, curious about the white man wasting food were available to help. I paid the kids in candy for their help. Bruno told me that they were basically street kids who weren’t in school and stayed ran around town all day. They were quite willing to help, though I think they ended up wearing more powder than they used on the field. I also saw them eating handfuls of it. In retrospect I probably should have bought them food rather than given them sweets. Bruno later told me that some of them stole some of the posho and hid it in the bushes to cook and eat later. It didn’t bother me one bit.

So the day came for the tourney. Slowly the teams began to arrive. The lines that I had worked to hard to put down were barely visible, mostly due to the thick grass. The kids showed up with their teams. Some walking, some in the back of a pickup truck. They all had athletic uniforms on for their respective schools. I paired them up and began the tourney only 30 minutes later that I wanted to begin. One team had failed to show up so I sent someone to check on them. I gave them a half hour extra to arrive, I counted down the time: 30 minutes, 20 minutes, 10, 5, 2, 1, 30 seconds… then I gave their opponents the win. Not 2 minutes later I saw them walking around the bend. Too late, I had already called the game, but it was a double elimination tournament so they now had one loss, the same as 2 other teams.

The games proceeded on. The play was a bit sloppy at first but as it went on the kids picked it up and the games were quite interesting. It reminded me of my days of high school football. There were some great deep passes and some diving catches. Some superb defensive plays and good Frisbee management. The girls played well and the weather was sunny and warm. The nearest school even donated a sound system and a DJ, a student, who played local music throughout the competition. After each team played 3 games we broke for lunch and then came back to watch an HIV/AIDS drama that was performed by a local group of adults who all have been tested for HIV, some positive, some negative.

Jacob made some funny observations about the tourney. First, the students would fall down and grab a knee or an ankle if they were fouled. They would roll around in pain for several minutes before getting up and playing again without the slightest limp. Reason: European football. This is how soccer players react when they get fouled. They flop around and pretend to be injured to draw a foul from the ref, and because they watch a lot of Premiership Soccer here, that’s what they did in our Frisbee tourney. And after the injury, if they did leave the field, someone would come over and rub Vaseline on their injured calf or hamstring and within minutes they were miraculously fine.

We did have a problem with students officiating themselves. In the 30+ years of the game of Ultimate, it’s always been played with the players officiating themselves. As Marcus pointed out, that’s because it began in the 60’s by a bunch of hippies. Every single call in the final 2 games became an argument. ‘He was in!’ ‘He was out!’ ‘It was a catch!’ ‘It wasn’t a catch!’ It was like that with every call. They’re supposed to mutually agree on what happened and if they can’t then they just re-do the play. I think it was a combination of it being a new sport and their age as to why they wouldn’t play fairly. It almost ruined the entire competition. Jacob was yelling at them, I was yelling at them. The final game was just one big argument. And to top it off it started to rain. Dark clouds came in from all around. There was lightening. I tried to call the game off but the teachers from the school told me that lightening doesn’t strike people!! Yikes! The lightening wasn’t bad and it was far away, so we kept playing. In the end the team we thought would win did. They received a trophy and a goat for their efforts. And I received a headache and a sun burn for mine…

Making rocks

I spent some time out in the ‘bush’ on Sunday and I happened upon a small rock quary. Very small. As I approached I realized that there were people working there. 6 men using primitive tools to make rocks. One man’s job was to use a ball-pin hammer to break baseball size rocks into marble sized rocks. Another man was using a pry bar (similar to a crow bar) to pry the rocks from the wall. Another man was using a garden rake to sift the rocks. The other guys were sitting in the shade watching. When you have an ample supply of manpower that’s super cheap and machines are super expensive then you give them primitive tools and pay them a dollar a day to do basic work. It’s really amazing.

Road ID

When I was home I bought a bracelet that has my name, my village, the Peace Corps Medical Officer’s number and Jacob’s number on it in case of an emergency. I run up to 20 miles some days and am always afraid that I’m going to get clipped by a vehicle and knocked unconscious. I don’t run with any ID n me so I thought this would be a good thing to have, that is, until I was informed that if I did get hit and knocked out that the villagers would probably steal my bracelet because it looks valuable!!! If, for example, someone is in a car accident, people will rush to the vehicle and make it look like they’re helping, but really they’ll steal whatever they can and leave the person to bleed to death or whatever. They’ll take the phone, watch, wallet, luggage, whatever. Just one more reason poverty needs to be eliminated.


At 13 September, 2007, Blogger Kevin said...

Another RPCV from Uganda just forwarded me your blog.

Glad to see you're still keeping Ultimate going in the Motherland. If you ever play the Marine Corps Embassy Guard WATCH OUT. They cheat.

-Owor Kevin


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