Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Soccer Match

It was a game to remember, a soccer game with stakes: City hall officials vs. SNET (our school) AND... ladies were allowed to come ( a monumental achievement although had we asked to play, that might have been a different story)

Mr. Lee (our director who speaks very little English) came up with "The Plan" complete with bullet points and diagrams to show what position each person would play.
  • ground condition- artificial turf
  • first half- strong defense
  • second half- defensive attack
Soccer is very important in Korea. Very important. And the boys kept joking that if they didn't come back Monday, we would know that they had lost (meaning that they were 'sacked' for loosing the most crucial game ever to be played in SNET history)

We piled into vans and cars to head out to a high school. To pass the time we played badminton and volleyball while the soccer game before ours was finished. The wind is strong and the hitting the birdy against the wind is like stopping a tape and rewinding. It literally would stop in mid-air fighting for it's proper direction frozen in time and then slowly be bullied backwards from whence it came. It put up a struggle, an honorable fight, but, the birdy lost in the end, and admitted defeat.
High school boys in their uniforms playing some Basketball

Hilarious shirt for a high school student to be wearing. We wondered if he knew what it said.

A plastic bag containing something rolled in aluminum foil is passed around. For the briefest moment, my heart jumps with ecstasy at what I think might be tacos, but as the moment floats away on a speck of dust and reality smacks me in the face, I am in Korea: NO TACOS!! (Why would I come to a country without tacos I ask you? Why?) These tacos are kimbap (veggie sushi rolls)- very tasty, but not tacos.On the side lines, cheering

The city officials, dressed in yellow jerseys stood in a circle stretching in sync with one another. They were older, probably twice the age of the fellas on our team, but they looked serious about this game- as soccer is probably in the top 3 most important things to Korea.
Synchronized stretching should be a sport in itself

We stood on the sidelines cheering. The game was shorter than I thought it would be and by half time, it was obvious the other team didn't stand a chance. The score was 3:0. There was a request by Mr. Lee not to make many more goals and to go easier on the other team. The second half of the game was a joke. The players were walking mostly now rather than running as they had before, and basically made paths for the city officials to make goals. Two goals were made accidentally, once when one of our guys was just trying to make a pass. The game ended when the match was a draw- evidently those were the unspoken rules. The city officials fund our school, so they MUST NOT loose! We had come to the game thinking that this was an important game the boys must win, but in the end, it was just a political meeting that either had to end in a draw or our team loosing. I will never understand Korean culture, I don't believe.

I discovered a new button on my camera- the sports shot. It is so cool because it takes pictures consecutively if you just hold down the button. Check out this awesome series of photos of our boss, Mr. Kim, stealing the ball from an opponent and passing it to a team member all while wearing dress shoes and khakis.
Mr. Kim is the one in green
Way to go!!

After the game we were taken to Linner- (lunch and dinner) as it was only 3:30. We ate with the opposing team, who were all very nice older gentlemen. And since this was a political meeting, drinking was absolutely necessary. It is inappropriate in Korea for there to be a business meeting without utter drunkenness. I believe I have talked about this before, but in Korea they don't think they can trust you until they have seen you drunk. The food, unfortunately was not my favorite. It was a type of Korean BBQ but the meet was 2 parts fat to 1 part meat, seasoned with only pepper. I ate one piece to be nice, but mainly sipped on my rice wine, until I was chosen to chug a beer mixed with soju in an arm lock you might see with a wedding couple when drinking campaign with one of the city officials. I don't even like beer, but when in Korea... After my chug, I then had to pick the next person who was to chug until everyone had played in this ritual/game.

Mr. Kim who is the head director at SNET sat next to be shooting back three sojus to every sip I took of my wine or water. He leaned over to me and said, "Korea has a very unique culture." Yep, Korean culture is unique alright! Very unique!


Jon said...

At last the football match took place, how weird they weren't allowed to win though, seems a bit pointless! Still, at least you got to drink and eat for free :P

micah debenedetto said...

this looks like so much fun!

Veggie Mom said...

You're having such a unique experience with these unique people, too, aren't you?

Lorie Miller said...

Fun! I want to play!

A Frugal Friend said...

I really need to learn about my camera.....a sports shot sounds great. I have to find my book!