The last two weeks have been jam-packed with Costa Rica study abroad program work, sports and volunteer work but have been so much fun because of all the excitement. Monday nights I scrimmage with the Woman’s Futsal team after 3 classes and Woman’s Soccer training-which I have to add that for Futsal I scored two big time goals on Monday to help lead the team to victory! Tuesdays I have been consistently going to the Evolution Thai Boxing gym which is just across the street from the main side of the U.C.R. I knew that when I first saw that gym and all those people running by with hand-wraps on, that it was more than just coincidence-it was destiny! So for under thirty bucks, I get to go to as many training sessions as I can handle in a month. They offer sessions Monday through Saturday five times a day with Yoga two days a week as an option. If that wasn’t enough, today they organized a trip with all the coaches and students from the gym to go paintballing, so naturally I went. It was the first time I had ever been paintballing but I had always wanted to go. I love everything that is part of extreme sports so I was more than ready. It was tons of fun and although I had a lot of new words to learn and tactics to learn, I survived and had an amazing time. I met a ton of people from the gym and got more immersed into the culture with the trip.
Wednesdays I volunteer at a local elementary school, Dante Alighieri, with 3rd and 4th graders, teaching them the game of Futsal, or Soccer five-asides. When I first visited the school, I learned immediately that they didn’t have any physical education program whatsoever, to add to that, they didn’t have any sports equipment like soccer balls at the school. To me, this was a huge thing because personally, I gained many of the values and learned many of my best lessons in the context of sports- soccer specifically. My sense of pride, leadership, co-dependency and loyalty all developed over my years of playing soccer. For a couple hours every week I train with third and fourth graders the art of “Futbol 5.” We started from the basics and are starting to move into team dynamics which is a lot more fun for the kids who get to play more. Its amazing to see how eager these kids are to learn and to play soccer-girls and boys. The first day of classes, I had 14 boys and girls from 4th and 26 from 3rd! I had one ball and had to be really creative with 26 kids under my sole supervision on a concrete soccer field smack in the direct middle of all the classrooms! Anyways, I’m learning as much as the kids are on Wednesdays, everything from coaching, discipline, pronunciation and new vocabulary! Some times I even go to the Evolution Thai Boxing gym later that day to work out all the accumulated frustrations from trying to coach a bunch of 10 and 11 year olds!
Fridays and Saturdays I usually manage to make it to a session of Thai Boxing because Im eager to learn all the new movies and techniques and to one day perfect them. We have learned everything from how to punch, kick, knee and elbow the opponent in various combinations. Also just recently started doing a little light sparring with the coach so he can tell you exactly what to work on. My first time was kind of a blur…probably because for every punch or kick I tried to deliever (key word: tried), I recieved a kick to the thigh or a light punch to the face! Talk about learning your lession- always keep your hands up protecting your face! The last few sessions we also got to learn how to break head-locks and how to throw your opponent onto the mat (that one still needs a lot of work) but the variation of activities keeps me going back excited for a brand new, exciting lesson. Friday this week is altogether different but just as exhilirating, or more! The study abroad in Costa Rica exchange students from the univeristy will be playing a 5 v 5 ‘’Futbol 5’’ game aganist the Human Resources department on this indoor sinthetic field named ‘’El Cuchifrito.’’ I couldn’t be more exicted because two weeks ago, before I played, the two teams met and the exchange students’ team lost 20-9. That only means one thing to me, this time, I know that I am up for the challenge, the rematch, or as they say here ‘’la revancha!’’