Here’s the team, with Mike as their Fearless Leader.
Truly. Fearless! Who else would volunteer, plan, and really ENJOY coaching a team of 5-7 year olds?
They did drills,
and practiced dribbling the ball.
As a result of their hard work over 3 months of weekly practice, they made it to the championships! Four teams in their age group won enough games to qualify, and Mike’s team was one of them. He trained his group of 9 players, half from the American International School and half from the local low-income neighborhoods. Everyone worked hard but the Zambian kids deserve a little extra credit for bringing their team to victory. Wow, some of them were really good. In addition to the work, they also had fun :).
The final tournament fell on Sunday June 8th, and we were lucky to have some extra cheerleaders on our side.
The kids hung out in trees and played on the swingset until the awards ceremony, which we thought would be a nice end to a long day before realizing that Zambian protocol would dictate at least an hour of greetings, speeches, and thank you very muches from a bunch of people that the hundreds of small children were not so interested in listening to. Just when we thought we could pacify them no longer with bags of horribly salty “beef mutton chips” and promises of swimming when we got home, we were saved by Dr. Kenneth Kaounda! The 90-year old first President of Zambia!
He ran in kicking a soccer ball and sang the National Anthem, then played us a song on his guitar. “KK” as he’s affectionately known has a reputation for charisma, and today he did not disappoint. Although 5-7 year olds can still only listen to so much on the guitar before they are still hungry again and need to go swimming!
It was a good time to go home, have some barbecue, eat some birthday cake, and watch a movie.
Congratulations Team USI. You and your coach are the best!!