Another thrilling week of football here in Nablus. The precocious took the field on Sunday, our group of 7-9 year olds who, I feel confident in saying, have now officially eclipsed any known metric for measuring cuteness and excitement. They race up and down the field like a swarm of bees, the enlightenment of spacing the pitch to free up movement and create opportunistic moments for attack still a few years out. A few wunderkinds are a bit ahead of the curve, calmly taking down a ball with their head up and searching for runners and open horizons. Our coaches have started the slow inundation of this philosophical approach to the game as well. Nonetheless, as flashbacks to my own childhood remind me that the “see ball, chase ball” mentality here is indeed quite universal, we’re all pretty happy that we can just have a safe, positive space for all the children to come and play and feel good about themselves. Meanwhile, the Champions League eagerly awaits the return of some of its finest stars. Their teams have pushed on, with new leaders finding the confidence to assert themselves as more central, dynamic figures in the squad. Still, we all look forward to the return of these elder statesmen, role models of great skill and equanimity of mind that they are. And though I’m sad to miss out on this group of 17 and 18 year olds, I am happy to report that the reason for their absence is final exam studying. Priorities are priorities, after all. Best luck to one and all.
Finally, the Premier League, our intermediate age group competition, offers its second week of fixtures this afternoon. Manchester Utd have come out gangbusters, taking 5 points from their first three matches, and sit alone atop the league standings. They aren't running away from the pack, however. Arsenal are just one point behind (with a match in hand), and Liverpool, Tottenham, and Chelsea are all within striking distance. Elsewhere, Zeid Kharaz paces the league in scoring, knocking home three goals in his first two matches. It should be an exciting day this afternoon.
Until next time, stay fly.