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Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Juice, New Squeeze

Even though the New Year hit Siem Reap 12 hours earlier we will still be wishing all of you 'Happy New Year' late.  New Year's Eve was a bit of a spectacle around town and I am happy that is has come and passed so that we can get back to the regular slowed down pace of life that is normal to Siem Reap.  Having said that, things are beginning to pick up around here.  The league officially starts up this Sunday and the fixtures are completed for the entire season.  Tonight there is a league meeting we will attend and representatives from all the children's centers involved will be there.  It should be good for everyone to get the whole thing underway - especially Gary Hodder, league founder.  It's hard to describe the way things get accomplished in Cambodia but everything is done to a slightly different beat with a different sort of logic underlying the whole process.  It has definitely been a struggle getting everyone on the same page.  Twice already have we attempted to run soccer clinics with Gary only to have none of the kids show up for various reasons mostly with regards to communication.  In any sense, it will be a wonderful sight once the kids are on the pitch and running around consistently.

With the notion of the league starting and the kids playing soccer, we have had the urge to kick the ball around ourselves.  Yesterday we rose from bed early to meet up with our friend (and fish massage worker) Sotcheat.  He had organized a team of Khmer to play a team of foreigners that we put together.  This was our third attempt at organizing a game and it was finally successful (Gary's not the only one who has had trouble with this as you can see...)  They had 7 we had 5.  We ended up beating them slightly but it was still a close game.  We could not play for long as all of our conditioning was so poor and some of us were still recovering from an eventful New Years Eve.  Sotcheat sent me a text message swearing he would be victorious in our next match.  Hopefully that will be soon.  Later that day we biked 4 kilos down the Siem Reap river towards the Tonle Sap Lake to participate in a practice for the Grace House team.  Grace house is a small community center just outside of Siem Reap where we will consistently be coaching/drilling/playing with/filming the kids.  We showed up and had a blast running around with the kids and giving them small pointers.  It was instantly apparent the large amounts of pleasure and well-being that can be garnered by being involved with organized sport as a youth - or as XL youth like ourselves.  It was a nice reaffirmation  to both of us that coming over here and being involved is not only a noble and worthwhile cause, but going to be oodles of fun.

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