International Language of Futbol

Anyone else have World Cup Fever?

We were pretty excited about gorging ourselves on soccer matches this summer. Despite the US’s placement in the Group of Death, and despite our beloved England (and Italy!) going home early, we’re enjoying watching the beautiful game.

My boys are at British Soccer Camp this week.  They’ve gone to the camp for the last few summers; they always come home happy, tired, and with new tricks to show me, so that’s all I need to consider it worthwhile.  I was glad to sign them up again for this year.

In one of the emails from the British Soccer Camp’s parent organization, Challenger Sports, there was a request to host a coach for the week.  The camps employ twentysomethings from Britain as the coaches, and the coaches stay with a host family who has kids in the camp that week.  They travel around the US running camps and staying with different families to learn a little about our way of life.  I volunteered our family to host this year.

We were a bit surprised to learn last week that our coach is from Challenger Sports other camp, Tetra Brazil.  We are hosting a 26-year-old Brazilian who has a college degree in Physical Education and works as a soccer coach in a high school.  He also plays soccer in the equivalent of Brazil’s minor leagues.  Although his English is not very good, he is enthusiastically trying to learn and take advantage of the opportunity to work and live in the US this summer.

So far, we have introduced him to the very American sports of mini golf……

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….and bowling.

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Even though he had never held a putter or a bowling ball before, our athletic visitor took 12 holes before putting his first hole in one and 4 frames before bowling his first strike.  And can you tell he’s having fun?  We have been loving teaching him about some of our favorite outings.

We have a hike through the green belt planned for later this week, though weather in Austin has been a bit stormy.  We’d also like to take our Brazilian visitor canoeing on Lady Bird Lake for a different view of the city.

Even if the weather doesn’t cooperate for those outings, I know my boys will continue to find pockets of time to kick the ball around in the back yard.

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They are loving watching our guest’s fancy techniques.  The Monkey, in particular, is thrilled to have someone who really challenges him with the soccer ball.

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There have also been other lessons.  I overheard The Monkey teaching the vocabulary of soccer (cleats, shin guards, cones) during half-time of the backyard match.  For a kid who is usually rather shy to befriend someone so quickly is heartwarming.

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We’re having a great time sharing our home with our guest.  I was a little intimidated by the idea of hosting a non-English speaker, but I’ve quickly learned that we have plenty in common.  More importantly, my boys have learned that finding common ground isn’t all that hard when you smile, treat people nicely, and offer to play a game.

Good health and great happiness to you!

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