Sunday, September 13, 2009
And it Raaaained--I'm Not Joking!
With uniforms especially clean and great expectations, soccer players from all the island's soccer clubs and their families arrived at the fields. A significant grant had been given to the Guam Football Association (meaning soccer) and a HUGE celebration fiesta was to be thrown. A parade of the players along with speeches from the Governor and other VIPs were to accompany the fiesta. At the soccer practices leading up to this event, players had been told that rain or shine, the fiesta would proceed. We were a bit worried because Guam was on a tropical storm watch and had been experiencing a LOT of rain. Nevertheless, with golf-size umbrella in tow, Noelle (9-years-old) and I showed up for the big event (Eric was at a basketball practice with 12-year-old Katie). Huge and new canopies with poles affixed in concrete lined the fields. Under each canopy was found youngsters touting the same colored jerseys and nearly all the colors of the rainbow were on display down the line of canopies like a pack of Life Savers. As Noelle and I began to situate ourselves under the canopy with other players sporting green jerseys, it began to rain. The kids were thrilled and spilled out onto the field to gleefully splash and wholeheartedly attempt to score a goal while some poor sap slipping and sliding attempted to prohibit success. Soon, the rain changed to very heavy precipitation. A loud cheer went up--primarily from the boys whose play became all the more frenetic. The faint-hearted players dashed to join their parents who were sequestered under the canopies. I kept looking around wondering when they would tell us the event had been cancelled. But, everyone was hunkered down happily socializing. Like a train, the rain began picking up speed and volume. It became difficult to hear because the rain was slamming down so hard. Although we were under the canopy and about four feet in, the rain began to slash in sideways and we were getting quite wet. Up came our seemingly circus-tent-sized umbrella which we put in front of us like a shield. As Noelle and I nestled behind the umbrella shield on our lawn chairs that sit about five inches off the ground, we noticed that the grass beneath our feet was disappearing under water. To our shock, we realized it was beginning to flood! A bright jolt of lightening followed by an incredible clap of thunder had anyone not already under the canopy frantically sprinting for cover. Lightening, thunder, and a torrential rain like you can't imagine followed. At that point, trying to make it back to the parking lot wasn't an option. Regardless of the canopy and the mammoth umbrella, staying dry wasn't happening. I kept thinking, "It can't rain this hard for long." I was wrong. The water beneath us was rising to the point that I was afraid we would soon be sitting in it. And then, I noticed something quite disturbing. Everywhere I looked I saw cockroaches and beetles of every imaginable variety furiously paddling and desperately seeking land. These critters' safe haven was, you guessed it, our feet and the legs of our lawn chairs--which led to our bodies. Although I actually like reptiles, I feel quite differently about insects. As we sat, feet buried under water, I could at times feel the desperate squirming of an arthropod trapped between my flip-flop and the sole of my foot. I was forever pushing the crawling maniacal beasts off my legs. It was free shock therapy for an insectophobiac! At any rate, the rain eventually let up, the speeches were cut short, and the parade was cut completely. But, on Guam, food will NEVER be cut. And, like only Guam can do it, there was an amazing fiesta, complete with roasted pig and a whole freezer truck of Haagen-Dazs ice cream. Remember, this is Guam, rain and heat go together, so the ice cream was a relief. Of course, that relief was nothing like the relief of arriving at home and finally stepping on dry, solid ground. And to think, as I write this, it's still raining outside!