The Beautiful Game: A Poem

Last days of school are always bittersweet. And, this past one definitely was as well.

The last day of summer school right now is fresh on my mind and in my heart. So many words can be used to describe that last day. Unfortunately, I can’t share pictures of that day on this website due to legal privacy issues with showing photos of students that I would like to respect. If you want to see a few, just ask and I’ll share them with you not on my website.

Instead, Here’s a few photos I found of refugee  women playingimage     image

I played “the beautiful game” aka soccer with my 7th and 8th grade young women for roughly an hour…and was completely shown up by their talent, skill and persistence 🙂 Here’s a few photos I found of refugee young women playing the game all across the world!

My female students and I actually didn’t even plan on playing soccer together. It was one of the moments that you look back on and wish you could let them stand still in time forever. We were all outside for “field day” and the gentlemen decided they just wanted to play a game of soccer. Instead of sitting on the sidelines or having to deal with the frustration of not getting passed the ball, these ladies took the reins to make it a game of their own.

Most of the students I worked with were Karen, a minority ethnic group originally from Myanmar (Burma) who have been heavily persecuted. Many of my Karen students grew up in a refugee camp or had spent significant time living in a refugee camp in Thailand. This poem is for them.

~The Beautiful Game~

Dribble, pass, shoot.

It was a beautiful day to play a beautiful game.

And, so they decided it was their day too.

To make the plays; to call the shots; to sweat; to not let the fast rhythm of their breath stop them make the next step; to be proud of what they had done.

Dribble, pass, shoot.

Thinking back to the days they used to watch and pray. Behind closed walls, where noises were like thunder, cries of longing told it all.

Dribble, steal, shoot.

Back to the times when they would sit with their mothers and their sisters and dream like babies without vision of the things that kept them trapped.

Block, trap, dribble, pass.

Trying to stop the memories from flooding in all at once of terror and of triumph over a thread of tranquility…that was real at one time.

Shouts, “Pass it, center field, I’m open.”

It is not the fear of hunger, of the killers, of the other, that keeps you alive. It is the constant rhythm of life; the beauty of a dance at night, the celebrations that won’t ever stop, it is the sound of your heart as you breathe in and out in the same beat, overcoming all the memories of how far you have traveled and what your eyes too young have seen.

Pass, cross it, head it, you made it.

It is that moment when your heart dances to the rhythm of  your feet that reminds you life, with all its suffocating spaces, is still beautiful.


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