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Montenegro – Day 2

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Excited faces and voices crowded the foyer of the Montenegrin elementary school and then suddenly it was time! This is what we’ve been preparing and waiting for! Originally we had 16 and as if by magic, we now had 26 eager 3rd/4th graders.  The classroom was smaller than my own classroom back home and we literally could not squeeze another desk or chair. Despite the large sized group, the students behaved so well and we had no behavior issues. It was a productive and fun-filled day! They were all still smiling at the end of the day, so this was definitely a successful first day! I loved every minute of it! More about the kids later.

Later in the afternoon, we hit the beach. The beaches in this area have funny names. This one was called Copacabana! The sand was a dark gray color and very soft. The water looked a brilliant blue (more pictures coming soon), and the sun was hot — until the clouds started getting darker and we finally made a run for a beach cafe when a sandstorm practically threw us at it.  More on the food another time.

Here are some observations and things I’ve learned about the culture and community, so far:

  • Montenegrins don’t buy coffee on the go.  On our walk to the school, I stopped for a quick breakfast bite and wanted my coffee in a “to-go” cup. They laughed at me and amongst each other for a minute before handing me a tiny cup with the coffee, which was delicious, by the way).  I guess they don’t believe in Starbucks here and are not upset about it.
  • Cows roam free on the streets. I saw at least 4 cows on this same morning walk. So cool. They didn’t bother us at all as we basically walked around them on the path. I love cows!
  • The kids in our class are VERY SIMILAR to the kids back home. They love many things and especially SOCCER (they say football) and DOGS! They loved EVERYTHING we did with them and especially anything with music, dancing, singing, movement,  and interactions with partners or in small groups.
  • The kids here do the FLOSS dance too!! If you’re not a teacher or a parent, you may not be familiar with it — omg! Youtube is most likely behind this! Ditto with FLIPPING water bottles — well, only one kid was doing this, but it’s a fad I’m glad is mostly over in the U.S.

My jet-lagged brain needs a break…more tomorrow! And yes, more pictures too…

 

 

Soccer Tips for Newbies

A funny thing happened one morning when I casually asked a friend how she got into such amazing shape.  She opened my eyes to a whole new world of …women’s SOCCER!  Wait. What? At that point, my daughter had played on a few teams and I’d gone to all her games and practices (most were cold and dreary), but grown-ups play too? It was music to a young mom’s ears, who craved – yes CRAVED – to get into shape.  Only thing was…I’d NEVER played before.  Not in college.  Not in high school.  Heck, not even in middle school.  In fact, I Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in fitness, Funny, Games, kids, soccer

 

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Lessons from the World Cup games

It’s exhilarating to watch the World Cup games.  WOW! I haven’t watched every game, but each time I watch, I’m riveted!

Their control of the ball is amazing — they make it look like they’re dribbling in their backyard and not at full speed with attackers all around. Their kicks are powerful and go clear across the huge field — with precision! They can bring those powerful passes to a complete stop, without losing the ball. Their headers are pretty powerful too.

I know, I know, these are professionals and that’s why they’re in the World Cup. It’s just that some of these guys are only 20-22! I didn’t start playing until…well, let’s just say it was way past 20.  I’ve been  playing on a woman’s recreational team for about six years and, naturally, I wish I could play like that! Who wouldn’t? One funny thing that surprised me, though, is how dramatic they are when they are “hurt” — like one player covered his face with his hands when the replay showed the collision was not near his face. It’s so obvious when they are running the clock. I just laugh because it’s so childish.  Yes, they are professionals — but human too.

Here are some lessons I’ve learned from watching the World Cup games:

  1. It’s mental too. Japanese midfielder, Yasuhito said, “We are mentally strong and we are now playing with a really positive attitude.” Mental strength is Czech Republic goalkeeper Cech’s most important quality. He said, “Because as a goalkeeper you always have a huge amount of pressure on your shoulders.”
  2. Pressure fuels desire. Netherlands left-back, van Bronckhorst said, “My ultimate dream is to say goodbye with the Trophy in my hands.”
  3. Teamwork and pride of team are crucial. USA‘s midfielder Bradley said, “When we get in tough spots, or things don’t go our way, there’s still a real feeling of togetherness and fight and just sticking by one another. You need that in the toughest of times.” Also, Germany‘s Podolski said, “We’ve definitely come on as a team, and we have a number of very good young players, which has to be a good thing.”
  4. Defensive strength is about discipline. Ghana‘s Pantsil said, “Everyone does their utmost to stop our opponents gaining possession in between our midfield and defense.”
  5. Good support system helps. Argentina’s Higuain said,  “[Coach Maradona] is a great motivator, there’s no doubt about that.”
Of course, it would have been great to see the USA team win, but I respect the teams that progressed to the quarter finals and the the ones who will go on to the semi-finals and finals.

May the best team win!
~~Maggie
 
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Posted by on June 28, 2010 in Funny, soccer

 

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