I have to take a few minutes to go back in time to the beginning of June. It was the last month of school. The world was getting prepared for the most televised soccer games in the past four years. The FIFA World Cup of Soccer was being hosted in South Africa which was seven hours ahead of us in Quito.
The normal afternoon and evening games, taking place in South Africa, were played in the early morning hours and early afternoon hours in Quito.
The first day, a game started at 9am and a second game started at 1:30pm. My first class of the day started at 10:35, which was right at the half-time of the game. When I strode into my classroom, I could feel the excitement among the students as they talked about the first half of the game between France and South Africa. They turned to beg me to let them see the game. They were currently working on a final project for the class, so I was feeling more lenient toward them. I made it clear to them that they would have one less day to work on their project if they watched the game instead. They said they didn’t mind. So, I brought all 12 students back to my home to watch the game. (Living on campus allowed me to do with without taking my students off campus.)
After lunch, my sixth period class began at 1pm. But there was an excitement and energy in the air about the upcoming game. A few teachers had brought their television sets from home to hook up in their classrooms so that students could watch the game as they studied. (Studied? Ha!)
I told my students that they had to complete the day’s assignment before 1:30 if they wanted to watch the beginning of the game. To my surprise, they all finished. This time, we headed up to the library where AV center was also playing the game.
The rest of the afternoon, I was stricter on my students. My middle school computer students really didn’t have the time to take away from working on their final projects. However, I had some very grumpy students for the rest of the day.
It was very interesting to watch the way everything seemed to come to a halt during the times the games were taking place. A few years ago, AAI put up a television screen just inside the entrance to the school for putting up special announcements. However, they began to use this television to let students watch the games between classes or if they had a study hall. For two weeks there was a game every day at 6:30am, 9am and 1:30pm. Each one of these games went into class time. It was hard for the teachers who were trying to keep their kids focused in class. However, the good news was that students had no reason not to do their homework at night, because the games were finished by the time school was over.
During that time, I watched as many of the games as I could (when I wasn’t in class). The boys got used to a routine of seeing the television on when they woke up in the morning. Cristina taught Jared how to recognize when a goal was made. It wasn’t too difficult. Especially since the announcer would start screaming, “GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLL!” for nearly two minutes after the goal was scored.
There is nothing like watching world cup soccer games in a country where soccer is most popular sport around.