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The Beautiful Game


Greetings Yakkers, I will be Yakking about a wonderful day that we spent in Qocha Marka, during our trek that we have just finished. We woke up in Qocha Marka and took part in a beautiful ceremony encircled by the Andes. Once the Alpaca was killed, skinned and put into the fire we descended to the football field (the real football).  We challenged the locals to a game, the winner of the game would get to keep the ball that we brought with us. Our not-so-secret weapon, our goalkeeper. The 6ft2 220 pound Joe Kuhl who covered half of the net. Our coach, Tommy, and the rest of the team armed with a great mix of defenders and attackers. We took the field in a 8 vs 8, our team also consisted of four locals which helped us significantly. I like to consider myself as a good athlete but playing football at around 3700 meters was one of the most physically demanding tasks I have ever endured. The lack of oxygen turned a 10 meter sprint into a 100 meter sprint.
I am proud to say that we held our own only loosing 1-0. However my personal highlight of the game was when I slid the ball between my homestay father’s legs, a few seconds later I ran over to him and said “Papa cierra tus piernas”. I don’t think there are words to describe the smile on my face as I said this. Perhaps in hindsight this is why my dinner portion was smaller than normal. Once the game was over we sat in a big circle with the people from the village and ate the slow cooked Alpaca, which was delicious. We decided to play a rematch, I thought the first game was difficult from a physical prospective, however playing football with a stomach filled with Alpaca was nearly impossible. We lost the second game 1-0 but fought with honor.
The reason behind my title. It doesn’t matter if you’re Canadian or American, if you speak English or Spanish, football unites people no matter what language you speak. Sharing the field with these people was a wonderful experience. Despite not knowing them we shared an incredible moment and bond. The second reason for my title, all you need is a ball and any piece of land will turn into a field of fun.