Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sports Day

Rather than distribute a sport over a season, as we do in America, Lesotho completes all sporting events for the year over an extended weekend.  This saves money and eases the logistics for the more remote schools.  How the schools train for the events is up to them.  Some schools excuse the athletes for a few days to train.  My school, Sekonyela, decided to use the last two hours of the day to train.  So for the past month, the students lost 1/4 of each day in order for a small percentage of students to chase balls.  I don’t mean to sound cynical but the majority of group sports involve chasing balls in some form or another. 

Here are some highlight photos from a few events.


Netball is a sport primarily played by females.  The best way to describe it is a mixture of ultimate frisbee and basketball.  The ball is passed up the court towards the goal.  Once a player catches the ball, they must stop all movement and pass to another player in order to progress the ball. 

Once the ball is passed to a player inside a roughly 6 foot ring under the “net”, that player may shoot the ball one handed and try to score.  While the offense is preparing to shoot the ball, the defense may pivot one foot and block with one hand but may not remove both feet from the ground. 

The sport is interesting to watch and then becomes very boring once a player prepares to score because all movement on the field just sort of stops.


Volleyball is interesting in Lesotho.  It’s almost identical to American volleyball except they can kick and head butt the ball.  Kicking helps a lot and acts as an additional line of defense against spikes. 

I have no idea what was going on on the court at this time but I had to get a picture of it.


Sekonyela vs Malubalube

The boys soccer team was awesome.  They had a 3-0 record when they trounced poor little Malubalube (sorry Rob but your school is lame) 2-1.  The game wasn’t as close as the score sounds, try to imagine Mike Tyson fighting an infant. 

Here my beast of a form D student Molemo Selahla celebrates immediately after a goal.

Here are some highlights of the game.

Preparing for a cross.

They even tried to cheat by holding us back (Malubalube in blue, Sekonyela in red).  

Splayed out for a kick.

Sekonyela prepares for a steal.

Sekonyela vs St. James Semi-Finals

Let me just begin by saying St. James is a ritzy, Canadian funded, private school full of a bunch of spoiled brats.  St. James is one of the top high schools in the country.  They don’t even have to recruit, the applications come to them and they simply reject the lower 66% of the applicants.  Sekonyela on the other hand is made up of tough young men and women who earn their way in this world.  So this was it, Hard Work and Sweat vs The Silver Spoons…

Their goalie was quick, likely years of work with a personal trainer, funded entirely by his overbearing parents.  

He stops another attempt.

Only one word can be used to describe the look on this St. James players face, fear or really bad indigestion.  

Their goalie makes a diving catch for a stop.  

The game ended with a tie of 2-2 and went to penalty kicks.

With everything on the line, each player lined up to kick a single penalty kick.

Here a Sekonyela player drives the ball into the back of the net.

There were no misses on either side when it came down to the last player to kick, our goalie.  It was a perfect kick.  The penalty kicks were over and the teams were still tied up.  There was a meeting with the coaches, team captains, and referees to decide what to do next.  They ALL agreed on three additional penalty kicks from players of the coaches choosing.  

Sekonyela was first up and delivered a good goal.  St. James returned and the score was still tied.  The second Sekonyela player lined up and waited for the whistle to blow.  It went off, he took a few steps forward, released a ferocious kick… and missed the goal post by a whisker.  The brats cheered all around the field.  Then all was quiet as the St. James player addressed the ball.  The whistle blew and he kicked, it was in.  More cheering from the brats.  Then in a state of confusion and I believe conspiracy, the referee called for a second meeting before the agreed upon terms had been met.  There was anger on the face of the Sekonyela group, this was not good.  Minutes went by, which seemed like years, then suddenly the referee gave his whistle three long consecutive blows.  It was all over, the St. James brats stormed the field.  

Sekonyela was XX double crossed.  

St. James went on to play Mokhotlong High School in the finals, which also came to a tie.  This time the St. James goalie made two penalty kick stops for the final victory.

Some brats rushing the field.

But a months afternoons of classes were not completely wasted in a last minute effort to train sports teams.  Our boys volleyball team went undefeated for the 1st place district victory.  Unfortunately due to scheduling issues, as in no one I asked knew the schedule, I did not see a single game.

Here the boys volleyball team displays the trophy from the bed of our school bus.

****************Changing Gears*****************

Two more brief comments:

I have not had good luck with roosters (mokoko) in this country, remember Timex?  Things were going so well with my current rooster that I forgot just how good I had it.  He got sick a few years back and lost his voice, no I’m not joking, my rooster sounds like he has a bad case of laryngitis.  He never wakes me up as I have trouble hearing him from 50 feet away.  Just recently he decided things were too easy for me and started making trouble.  

I was blindsided last week, while urinating next to my latrine (peeing outside is one of the few cultural nuances I’ve completely embraced).  The attack was quick and calculated.  He attacked my blindside while I was vulnerable (a wise decision on his part).  He leaped talons first into my calves, leaving small invisible marks, it scared the heck out of me though.  The second attack came when I was carrying a bucket of water across the yard.  Little did I know that he was closing the gap behind me.  My ‘M’e saw the pending attack and called my attention just in time.  Upon hearing her yell, I turned and swung the 5 gallon bucket of water just as he lunged towards me.  The rooster crashed into the bucket, spilling some of its contents.  
There have been many more attempts since these two incidents.  I basically have to watch my back everywhere I go.  I must reclaim my alpha status in this yard if I am to remain safe.  But how?

We got snow the other night!  It was just a dusting and only in the mountains but snow in Southern Africa.  


- Joel

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