Soccer, by Elias Fox

Soccer is just about the only sport kids play around here. It is also the only one with it’s own Greek name. All the other sports (basketball, football, baseball, hockey, tennis, and volleyball) are called by their English name. Most people don’t even know hockey or baseball. Some kids do play a little basketball, but soccer is definitely the dominant sport. Kids play it all the time; I’ve even seen a few of my friends kicking around an empty soda can when there was no ball available. And it’s not only the children–all of the men can play soccer well too. My teacher, Mr. Kosta, who doesn’t look like he would like to play sports, is a great goal keeper. Many of the older men sit around in cafenios late at night, playing cards and watching soccer. My school has a courtyard in the back where kids can play soccer, so at almost every recess we play. And, most evenings kids go up there to play it even more. They never get tired of it.

One day in October my friend Kosmas asked me if I wanted to go with him to AOM. AOM is the soccer team on our part of the island. Zach and I are on the “little kid’s team” with boys around 8 years old up to my age. We have practice every Saturday at 5pm for two hours (and on Wednesdays when we don’t have school). It is not as organized as things are in America, but it still is fun. The coach has us run three laps around the field at the beginning of practices (most times). Then we do some stretches and some drills and usually play a scrimmage at the end of practice.

This past Saturday we had our first and only game with Diagora, the team from the Raches area. It wasn’t even scheduled; our coach just called up the coach from Raches the week before an asked him if he wanted to have a game the following Saturday. The game ended in a tie, 6-6. Zach and I both played very well, but neither of us scored. It was a fun experience and I hope we got to play again.

Soccer was never really a sport I liked too much, but since coming here I think it is much more fun. It is also much easier to play whenever you want, because the kids have so much more freedom. If a kid in America wanted to play soccer (or any sport) with some friends, first he would have to find a place to play. If that place happened to be his backyard, he’d have to ask permission if he could have a group of friends over. Next, he’d have to call those friends who, in turn, would have to ask their parents if they could go to his house. The parents would have to drive them to the friend’s house and pick them up at a set time to take them back. Here, the kids tell their moms that they are going to the school and on the way call some friends to tell them to come as well. Then, they return when they want or when their moms call them. Easy. The only problem is that most kids don’t have a good ball to play with!

Here, soccer is a game that people of all ages enjoy. When we come back to America, I’ll miss going to AOM every Saturday evening and playing soccer with friends whenever I want. But when I come back here other times, soccer will still be here, and I will still have my friends to play it with.

***Extra note from Jackie: AOM is a free soccer club. No fees, no uniforms, no frills….no bringing snack to practices or games….nothing but playing. Thank you to the father, Vasili, who gives up his time every week and volunteers to coach!

14 comments on “Soccer, by Elias Fox

  1. Penny Bouris says:

    Elias, I loved your post! I have been waiting for it since Rea and Zach wrote their blogs, and it was worth waiting for!!

  2. Aunt Zeda says:

    Yea, Elias.. glad you finally got your post on your mom’s blog. Good job. You look much happier playing soccer than you did at the dancing classes!

  3. Phil J says:

    Thanks, very interesting.

  4. Maggie says:

    Elias, I also loved your post! It is great to learn how sports are played in other countries and you did a fantastic job describing it to your readers. Makes me want to go outside and kick the ball around!

  5. sue mikolajczyk says:

    ELIAS, Thanks for writing about soccer and sports in Greece. You will have so much to teach us Americans when you get back. It sure sounds like the Greek way of life is different than in America…..wondering which you like best. XOX to all of you!

  6. Roy says:

    Great post Elias! You really captured the Greek island soccer spirit!!!

  7. MaMa & Tom enjoyed your blog. Tom is so anxious to see you kids. So glad you & Zach play soccer. See you in a few weeks

  8. Roula cochran says:

    ευχαριστηθηκα να διαβαζω your blog Hlia, kai xαιρομε που σου αρεσει το ποδοσφαιρο.
    Ακουω πως εγεινες,’ξεφτερι’ στην ελληνικη γλωσσα. Συγχαρητηρια.

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