Monday, June 27, 2011

Daily Life at the Games

Ok, ok. Enough about soccer. Mostly. This post will be more about everyday life at the games.

The first thing you need to learn about the World Games is the obsession for pin trading. Every country has a pin specially issued for the games. Each athlete gets about ten of them, and they are obsessive about trading and collecting them.
Larry Mills trading pins with a Kenyan ladies player
Larry's collection has grown since the Opening Ceremonies, when this picture was taken. Earlier today, a girl from Moldova asked Coach John to trade a pin, and before Coach could answer, Larry had his pin out and stole the trade!
Even administrators have the addiction
Another part of daily life have been the morning naps at the stadium. As the team gets used to a transportation system that requires them to leave at 6am, and arrive at 8am, for an 11:30am match, they have taken to sleeping in the same far corner of the upper level at the stadium:
Notice the pillows, which the players have been instructed to bring. They make for a funny scene when we walk on the field with them, but at least we're well rested!
Then there is the community of athletes. An international group of coaches and players who love the game and enjoy meeting new people. Every day brings new connections!
Brandon Chan and a pin-trading friend from Maylaysia
Coach John with (Dave) Teng Pak, the coach of Singapore and a friend the coaches made on the first day in Athens
Coach Ken juggling with the Irish striker who scored twice against us in Rhodes.
The team with John, our fast, talented, and talkative Namibian friend
Finally, and inescapably, there is the beach. Whether at Rhodes, or now at our beachside hotel south of Athens, daily walks on the beach have been a great way to recover from hectic days and very close games:
The Greek beaches we've seen on Rhodes and here at Anavyssos have both been more rock than sand, but very dramatic. As the guys are showing here
A less dramatic picture from the rocky beach across from our current hotel
So, that's a peek into the usual goings-on around here. But let's be serious. We're here for the soccer. And we did play Italy to a 0-0 tie today:
Wes Thompson watches as Larry Mills beats an Italian defender
For more on the matches, please click on the "Match Reports" link in the sidebar to the right. Tomorrow's entry will feature a discussion of the tournament and our team tactics as we enter the business end of the competition!

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