The weather has been surprisingly warm. It’s early January, and it’s almost t-shirt weather. In the sun, that is. As soon as it fades, the lead shrink.
A student suggests a game of football (soccer). At Sunday breakfast we do a fast hand count, and the game is on … 13.30, and the sun baking from a crisp blue sky. Two old boots and a few traffic markers will serve as goals. We manage to find the tip for the pump, and the old rather tired leather ball is back in shape. To our surprise, an old hockey goal is hiding along the hedge. A big deal, since goal shots usually sends the ball downhill.
We start out with 5 players on each team, but soon we’re 7 with running replacements. Some of the fellas only have hiking boots on and decide to play barefoot. It’s warm enough for it, they decide. A female student from Amsterdam guides us through a 8 min warm-up and the game is on. Various styles quickly shows: Korean speed, Dutch fast passes, Swiss keeping, American determination, Brazilian footwork and well, Danish defense. Soon we have a small group of spectators, playing music from an iPod, enhanced by an old plastic box.
The sportsmanship is high – everybody plays with a big smile, but with no lack of competitiveness. We play, laugh and cheer each other on. Often, the ball ends in the briars or bouncing down the mountain. We’re fast on it though, keeping the game pumping. Our team is ahead 4-2, but not long. A replacement moves in and shows a good understanding of the small space available. Soon, it’s 4-4, as pulses and passion rises. Serious dribbling and fast passes from the two female attackers outmaneuvers the defense and it’s 5-4. Soon, we fight back with fast combinations. We have the midfield under control, and the momentum produce attack after attack.
At the break, it’s 5-5. We decide to play 3 more goals. These all falls at the feet of the surprise player: A skilled Texan Volleyball player: She breaks the code of the defense and point the cunning Brazilian and Korean passes right in the net.
The sun is still beaming. The mountain ridge glows in afternoon sunlight. Chamonix and Mont Blanc seems closer and sharper than usual, yet the valley lies indistinguishable through the lower clouds. Legs are scratched from the briars. Are few sore toes. Very little damage from such an intense – and jolly – bout.