April 02, 2010

The Sheep Cup

Every year towards our Independence Day which we call the 17thcelebrations, our housing complex always held a mini football competition with the grand prize of a sheep/goat. This was why it was called the Sheep Cup.

Our complex was a small one which consisted of no more than 200 families that form 1 ward and 4 RT’s (neighborhood watch group). Therefore, this competition went directly to the semifinal matches. The categories in the competition were adult and teenager football. Different from the inter-kampong competition whereby outside players are allowed to play, our committee specified that no team was allowed to bring outsiders. He must be residents of the complex, and must even present his ID card if necessary.

The committee put an effort to hold the competition as closely to the applicable standards as possible. However, due to the size of the field, the number of participants was not the regular 11, but reduced to 6. Hence a mini football competition was organized. It was not futsal since the field was outdoors, using conventional football regulations.

The event was kicked off with the teenagers. The requirements for this category were junior high and high school students. The funny thing was that their jerseys didn’t match one another. There were shirts from Manchester United, Arsenal, Barcelona and other beloved teams. Unfortunately there was no one who donned the national team or local club jersey. It appeared that they were more proud wearing a Wayne Rooney or Ronaldo uniform rather than that of Ponaryo or Bambang Pamungkas. How could this happen? Was it because their sense of nationalism had faded? Where was the pride in “Garuda on My Chest”? It didn’t appear to be so. They were chosen because of the trend. Their love for the national team still existed although its achievements have been going downhill.

Teens Team

One game after another came and went with much spectacle. Goals were scored with various celebratory acts. There were those who sucked their thumb like Totti of AS Roma or taking off their shirt as would the Italian players. The referee then gave out yellow cards since taking off one’s shirt was prohibited. There were those who handled the ball like Ronaldo or demonstrated their skill dribbling the ball by passing several players. The competition was interesting and most importantly, it was fair play. No one tried to inflict injury on opponents or dispute the referee’s decisions.In the end, we reached the finals. The game was very tough and had to be ended in penalty kicks. The event was won by the teenagers’ team of RT 03 that defeated RT 02 with the score 5-3.

Now the adult division was finally here. With the far-from-ideal body types (potbellied and the likes), bespectacled and limited breathing, the competition had only become more interesting. It was an entertainment unto its own league for their wives and children. They laughed out loud when their husbands and fathers went running, slipped and fell down or when they scored a goal.

The children showed more fair play than did the adults. The ball was chased after with whatever means, from pulling shirts to pulling opponents’ shorts without causing injuries. The norm is that professional players would ask for more time, but here, the players wanted shorter play time since they were exhausted and ran out of breath!

Finally, the team that had more substitute players clinched the victory. In other words, whenever their colleague was tired, there was always a substitute who would replace him. The amount of player changes was not limited because every resident was allowed to play. In the finals, RT 02 defeated RT 03 by 3-1 and had the right to carry home a sheep.

Adults Team

That was the football competition in our housing complex. It wasn’t exactly a competition. Rather, Footballaria would have been more proper. It wasn’t the victory nor the trophy that we were seeking, but the entertainment aspect of it and the opportunity to get together with our neighbors so that we become more familiar with each other.

In the evening, we all savored roasted sheep together.

(Submitted by Harris Maulana from Indonesia)

Catatan Penulis:

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