musings on music, travel, books, and life from Southeast Asia

Mandalay Football Fun

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I’m still in the process of learning, or trying to become more proficient in the Burmese language, or Myanmar zaga as it’s called over here, so sometimes I don’t fully understand what people are saying during conversations. So, when I was hanging out on 90th Street in Mandalay recently, and the kids mentioned something about football, I thought they were talking about going to watch a football match. But what they meant was PLAYING some football, and that ended up being a little football match between them — Moe Htet Aung, Baw Ga, Pya Thein, Zin Ko, and Ye Thu Lwin —and another group of kids that I didn’t know from the neighborhood.

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They played on the grounds of a nearby monastery, using makeshift goals and roughly designated out-of-bounds markers. It didn’t matter that a pile of leaves was in the middle of the field … they’d just play around it. Occasionally, there would be a bit of shouting or heated discussion about some alleged infraction, but for the most part it was fun, friendly match. Unlike some of the real matches you see on TV. Little Zin Ko was the smallest player on the field and every time he’d kick a ball, he did it with such intensity that he ended up falling down. Each and every time. It was a bit comical … and nobody laughed harder than Zin Ko himself. A good sport!

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