I don’t know how I got talked into this. There was a rematch of the soccer game from last week. Last week, it was the North Americans vs. the Homeowners, and based on the stories (I went to bed early that night and missed the whole thing), we played soccer the way North Americans do (poorly). I think the score was something like 3 to 20. Anyway, Mike is actually quite good, since, well, not to stereotype or anything, he’s Canadian, so he plays hockey. I think he may have been behind this whole rematch idea.
We matched up against a ragged lot of kids and middle-aged men. Chainsaw Guy (so named because he uses the chainsaw with precision and grace on the job site) was teaching his three kids how to play. Laszlo, the skinny – but surprisingly athletic – director of Habitat in Csurgo, played for the opposition. And another homeowner “played” goal. He actually, quite kindly, simply stepped aside in the rare case that we managed to get the ball anywhere near their goal. This was not the same kind of “stepping aside” that Ben did in our goal, because he was afraid of getting hurt. Nor was it anything like the “stepping aside” that I did after Chainsaw gave me the biggest bruise of my life, when he kicked the ball at my leg.
Peter played goal for us for a while. He seemed unused to our American attitude of playing full-out even though we had no skills and no hope of victory (or even of dignified defeat). We, however, couldn’t help ourselves. Jen threw herself at her opponents, even intimidating poor Chainsaw with flailing limbs and unpredictable moves. Mike subbed in for goal and snatched unstoppable balls before they reached the net. Kate yelled that she was open, and Sam and Ben were all over the field, playing balls they had no right to reach first. I even stopped a small child from advancing a ball down the field at one point. And Kate and I both scored (though it was on our own goal, which caused Peter to shake his head in dismay).
Final score was 6 to 14, an improvement, they said, over last week, but more than that, we amused our Hungarian fans, who really couldn’t believe what they were watching was football.
Before the Defeat