Football and more FOOTBALL!

Football. It’s huge here. This fact makes England basically into a heaven for me. It’s revived that soccer fever that I had when I was in High School, because I’m in a country where football (soccer) is a huge deal. Last week we were fortunate enough to get tickets through Shirumisha, a friend of the flat that we met at church. He purchased 9 of them so that all of us that could make it and wanted to go could. (How nice, right? They were 3 pounds each and so we just paid him back after the game.) We all met up with him at his house that is only 2 minutes from Nottingham Forest’s pitch. Then walked the short distance there. Our seats were really high up in the Students’ section. We could see the entire pitch and all of the people. The crowd included over 20,000 people.We were all super excited. We all had a pretty good understanding of how important football is here after one of our Paideia classes where the speaker talked all about football. The game was a great time. We got to watch a great match, hear the cheers of the two teams, and get into the game ourselves. Nottingham Forest won and believe me we were sold on them. Football over here is a big deal. You don’t pick your team, you inherit them. That’s exactly how we became Forest fans. We inherited them from the previous Notts and we’ll pass them down to the future Notts. I will always be a Forest fan. My second football experience came under an entirely different circumstance. One night after dinner two weeks ago a bunch of us went into the backyard to play a bit of football. It was so much fun, and made me so inspired. I went inside that night convinced that I needed to get back in the game. I went online and I found a ladies league in Nottingham and I emailed them. Two or three days later I got an email from a coach for the Arnold Town F.C. ladies teams, Harry. He said that I could come to a game and see them play and decide from their whether I was interested in the possibility of playing for them. Man, oh man, was I excited. The problem was that I plugged the address into google. I plugged the address into the bus journey planner. BUT I COULD NOT FIND HOW TO GET TO ARNOLD TOWN! I was so frustrated. I finally gave up on going to the game and gave up on getting back into soccer. It was incredibly disappointing. Then a few days I snapped back into it. I decided that giving up was stupid. I emailed Harry told him my dilemma. He emailed me back a few days later asking for my number and the area that I lived in so that he could try to organize a ride for me! Sure enough a day after giving him my number I got a text message from another one of the coaches, Steve, who said that he could give me a ride that Wednesday night if I was interested in going to training for the team. I agreed and we set to meet at a pub at the end of my street. Wednesday night I was a wreck. I was so incredibly nervous. I kept thinking that maybe, just maybe, this was a bad idea. I thought that I’d end up looking like a fool out there. It was pretty stressful. Luckily, I had my flatmates and Oket to talk me down. Oket told me that if I calm down everything will be just fine, and you know what? It was. I was waiting outside of the Nag’s Head for a while before I got a call from Steve. Ended up I was waiting at the wrong pub… oops. He drove over though and we set on our journey to Arnold. On the road we talked about football, school and just had a great time. He was a nice, older man who was just very relaxed and talkative. He made me feel a lot better about the prospects of being a part of a team again. He talked about how I should test it out a bit, see how I feel out there and see how I connected with the other girls. It just sounded perfect. On the way there Steve stopped to give a lift to one of the girls who was walking to training. She got in and we got to talking. Ended up she was the captain of the Reserves squad. When I got to Arnold Town I met the other coaches and they let me know that I should just have fun, but they’d be keeping an eye on me. It was a little nerve-racking but I just joined in with the other girls and did a bunch of drills dealing with passing, shooting and the like. It was very fun. Then they ended the practice with a short scrimmage. It was so much fun being out there again and I felt myself quickly picking everything back up. I started getting a feel for the game again. The game that I love. After practice the coaches told me that I did great and that if I wanted to join in I could and introduced me to a few other people. Then I got in the car and had a nice, long chat with one of the girls before setting home again. I walked in the door to the flat with paperwork for Arnold Town F.C.’s ladies’ teams under my arm. For a bit of background on how the team works, in case you are wondering. The team meets every Wednesday night for a training session and then has games on Sundays. The team is mostly made up of women from ages 16 to 25, but there are occasionally older players on the team. I’m pretty pumped about the idea of maybe joining a football team here in the U.K. What could be more British than football? I could enjoy playing their own game with them. It’d be the perfect way to really experience British culture and I’m sure I’d get to meet a lot of great girls in the process. Cheers ladies and gents

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