I’ve been playing pickup ultimate here in Port-au-Prince most Saturday afternoons. My expat friends who organize pickup also run a clinic for local kids every Sunday, and yesterday I showed up to help out and scrimmage against the older kids. It was SO fun!
It was a gorgeous, blazingly sunny day to be out on the turf. The kids, ranging in age from probably 7 to 18, warmed up & ran a couple quick drills, then we played 4 v 4 to get ready for the big scrimmage. Above: impressive mark by the kid in grey during a warmup box drill.
It’s apparent that the kids LOVE these Sunday clinics. They played with so much heart and intensity and joy. The older kids won the scrimmage against our ragtag expat team!
The girls who came out to play were far outnumbered by the boys, but these girls were fò! Fò means strong (physically, mentally, emotionally) in Kreyol– it’s one of my favorite words. After the scrimmage, I spent a long time practicing throws with the three little girls holding discs in the picture below: Sterline, Emmanuella, and Djamon. They’re wonderful and they’re going to be baller athletes.
Organized sports have always been a vital part of my life and identity. Though there are tons of kids playing pickup soccer and basketball games in streets and makeshift fields all over Haiti, it’s pretty special for these kids to have access to a space like this– a big fancy stadium where the focus is entirely on them running and playing and learning. Watching these kids yesterday, I recognized in them the same effort, striving, elation in victory and frustration in defeat that I have known, hundreds of times over, in the highs and lows of playing sports. It’s a powerful and beautiful thing to share.
I can’t wait to help out again!
P.S. Aforementioned expat friends Paul and Erin are raising some funds to keep these clinics going after they leave Haiti. Donate here if you feel moved!