Sunday, May 30, 2010

Futbol Americano

We entered the stadium with football and Gatorades in hand, Katie and I eager to teach our Chinese friends about one of the best traditions in our culture--American Football. It started out just with Katie and myself teaching a couple of guys that we study with.  Katie, who knows more about the sport than I and doesn't throw like a girl, taught the guys the basic rules while I twirled around in circles and texted a few more people inviting them to join us.  And thus we add to the game another American teacher, Jimmy, and 3 more students, all fresh out of class; making an even match of 4-on-4.

We teach the guys the correct way to toss the sphere-shaped ball, and try not to laugh at the sheer amazing-ness of their form, and then count off "One, two, one, two..." to divvy up the teams.  And we're off.  

Acting as QB for my team, I instruct my teammates, 3 Chinese guys, to stand on the starting line and "Go" when I counted to three.  

Take 1: "One, two, three..."I look around; one of my players dances behind and beside me calling for the ball and the others stand in one place waving their hands around.  

Take 2: This time the players learn to stay in motion, and upon successfully passing to one of my teammates, he begins to run backwards upon seeing people come at him, and is tagged behind the starting line.

Take 3: I pass to another teammate who also manages to catch it but immediately attempts to pass it to another teammate, and chucks it on the ground.

Take 4: One of my teammates suggests that he throws.  I toss him the ball, and before we are even off the starting line, he pitches it to Katie on the other team.

Still, we persevere.  We all alternate QB-ing and don't worry about the fact that we stink. Soon, however, we start to throw on target, we start to catch the ball, and we start scoring.  Katie and Jimmy's team start shaking in their knees and call a time-out to discuss the next play.  My players suddenly look to me for leadership so I call them together into a huddle, and after giving each of them a long, serious look I start to speak: "Put your left foot in, take your left foot out..." soon we are doing the hokey-pokey until  we realize the other team is ready to get going.

The game commences, and so does the banter.  I beam with pride at one of my students and his English trash talking abilities. Oh, how quickly they learn. (sniff)

I have no clue who won, since we didn't keep score, but we did it.  We played touch- American football in China.  And it was amazing fun.

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