Early this morning, we watched the girls soccer team warm up and show us how they play. The soccer field is a long walk from the classrooms where we teach, so their practice took place at the Little Ripples school. The girls have never had a chance to play before the refugee community decided they wanted iACT to help them start the Soccer Academy, and their skills are just beginning to catch up to their enthusiasm!
Hundreds of children with the motivation to practice flock to the open field behind the camp after school. In the searing heat, the oldest ones practice at 3:00, the next oldest at 4:00, and by the time the little ones have their turn, the sun is lower in the sky. Seeing the children, many literally dressed in rags, having so much fun playing and cheering after goals brought tears of joy to my eyes.
You’ll see in the photos that they practice mindfulness before warming up, then they stretch, and practice kicks and footwork. Without missing a beat, they flop down to do strengthening exercises on their bellies in the dirt. I can’t help but think of the lucky Los Angeles kids who go to their sports practice wearing bright clean uniforms, lugging a duffle bag full of shiny new gear. It’s strange to live in a world where all children can’t have what they need—where some have so much, and countless others nothing much at all.
It’s inspiring to see the dedication and love of the four coaches, and how the children respond so eagerly to their coaching. These coaches lead the hundreds of kids who show up to learn and play! Joslyn taught a streamlined standing body scan they can do with the children to help build awareness of the mind-body connection.