So, we just returned from nine-year-old Noelle's soccer game where, again, I have come face-to-face with the differences between soccer games on Guam and soccer games in California. Here are a few:
In California, umbrellas come out when it's raining. In Guam, you see more umbrellas when it's blistering hot than when it's pouring rain. Today was one of those hot umbrella days. The sun was beating down and the humidity was high, so out came the row of umbrellas, which is to a Guam car what lipstick is to a woman's purse.
Of course, the umbrella does serve its designated purpose as well, because rain or shine, the game goes on. I suppose this is because Guam is a rain forest, so not much playing would be done if games were canceled due to rain. During one of Noelle's games, it was raining so hard that her shoes filled with water. We literally had to "empty" her shoes so she could continue playing. I was in hysterics on the sidelines, thinking of all the games in California that had been canceled because it was sprinkling. If those soccer moms could see me now!! :-)
The Chamorro (Guam natives) spectators are, by and large, very quiet compared to mainlanders. Last year, we had a scheduling conflict so we had Christian (age 17) deliver Noelle to her game and we arrived about thirty minutes later. As we approached the field, I was immediately surprised by all the "noise" coming from the sidelines. I could hear parents shouting, clapping, and cheering. I remember thinking, "Wow! That's kind of obnoxious!" About 15 minutes later I noticed a large number of haoles (caucasians) playing on the opposing team. It was then that I put two-and-two together and realized Noelle was playing one of the military base teams. How quickly I had grown accustomed to the more quiet and reserved spectating style of the Chamorros. (By the way, I'm sure Noelle's team parents have raised their eye brows more than once at the excited shouts coming from my direction!)
On Guam, all teams whose players are 14 and under play co-ed. The reason they are co-ed is that Guam is too small to have enough kids to make up enough segregated teams. This I really dislike, especially as Noelle gets older. In some games, Noelle is not only nearly three years younger than other players, but the boys are nearly twice her size. This is certainly true in weight. Picture a quarterback trying to tackle a lineman or vice versa. This isn't only a problem with the opposing team, it also creates problems with one's own team because, obviously, there is a greater advantage to pass to the big "linebackers" (which are never girls). However, Noelle has had to learn to be assertive and to compete with very difficult odds which will strengthen her character.