Right near our home, there is a soccer field where men have been competing since the first weekend we were here. Finally, we discovered that it’s a tournament between villages nearby our home (relatively nearby). At Jon’s request, I accompanied him to two games. The first game we attended was incredibly awkward for me. I was the only female there…yes, the only female and of course I stand out already since I’m a mzungu, a white person. There were two other teachers from our school there, too. When I explained that I used to play soccer, they were intrigued. I can’t speak for the whole country, but it seems that in my experience, women don’t play soccer here. Most women play a sport called netball which is a version of basketball.
The next game we went to was the championship game. This time there were other women and easily 100 spectators and likely more. The winners of the championship were to receive $20 for the whole team plus a goat. Yes, a real live goat as the trophy for the winning team. The game was wild. Every time there was a goal, the spectators rushed the field, people were doing flips, and children were dancing. There was one man who had a horn to provide the noise for the game. It turned out that the horn was literally that. An animal horn where the person had made a little place to blow into and made noise.
As it turned out, the score was 4-1, but the losing team was very upset. At the end of the game, a fist fight broke out! We couldn’t see much because the crowd rushed to the fight. Once the fist fight ended between the teams, the losing team starting chasing the referee out of site. Jon and I left before we could determine what had happened. Our neighbor came over the next day to let us know what happened. The losing team was supposed to receive a second place prize of $8. But, the villages got together and determined that the losing team will not receive any money and those who fought and chased the referee will not be able to play in the next tournament. All of this over a goat (and maybe some team pride)!