Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Soccer in the Snow

A few short weeks ago, we experienced an Indian summer here in Moscow - one last blast of warmth and sunshine before the cold dark days of winter set in.

Sadly, that Indian summer ended just a few days before the Middle School hosted an international school soccer tournament.

In practical terms, this meant we went from t-shirts and shorts to winter coats and hats almost overnight. This is what it looked like from the sidelines of the first game of the tournament. In October:

I'm a wimp. I readily admit it. I love sunshine and warm weather. Cold weather is fine, too - as long as I can stay inside and bake bread all day. Yeah, I know - I'm in Moscow, so quit complaining already. I'll never learn to love the snow, but after so many cold-winter posts, I've learned to deal with it. Mostly by avoiding things like all-day-outside-in-the-snow-soccer-tournaments.

The kids, for the most part, had a great time despite the snow - or perhaps because of it. Conditions on the field were less than ideal, but taking a day off school to run around in the first snow of the year isn't exactly a hardship for your average middle-schooler.

Every so often the skies cleared and all of us sidelined parents put on our sunglasses and cheered a bit more, well, cheerfully.

And actually, by the end of the (very long) first day, the snow was mostly gone from the field. It still blew around and stung our eyes, but it couldn't stick for long on the field.

Of course, there was still Day Two to survive, for both parents and players. By about lunchtime on the second day, the kids were all exhausted. Three games in a single day will do that to you.

The team from Warsaw took first place overall. There were other teams, from Prague and Bucharest and Budapest. Istanbul, too. Some of these kids were seriously impressive players, and they obliterated A's relatively young team. His team lost every game.  Every single one.  It's painful, as a parent, to sit on the sidelines and watch your son's team get crushed, over and over. But I was so proud of his team. They never gave up. Even knowing, going in, that they were probably going to lose (they were the B team, after all), they still fought down to the last minute of every game. 

Anyway, you get the idea. It was a long, cold weekend. The day after the tournament, the snow disappeared, and this week we're expecting practically balmy temps in the mid-40s. Which is good, because Halloween is just around the corner.

And now, I'm off to bake some bread. Because winter.


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