Friday and Saturday, the Kanglung primary school hosted a football tournament. The “cluster” of schools includes a number of primary schools nearby: one down the road 3-4 km in Rangthung, another up the mountain in Yonphula, another even further away. I’m sure there are others I am forgetting. The local middle/high school is also part of the cluster, but not part of the tournament.
People in Kanglung are very serious about their sports. When I asked the teachers to share “something about you we wouldn’t know if you didn’t tell us,” many of the men said they liked to play games. “Oh,” I said, somewhat startled. “What kinds of games?” “All kinds!” was the answer. Eventually I succeeded in translating “games” into “sports”–archery, darts, soccer, badminton, and more.
The President’s wife, Dechen, also the second-grade teacher, was the announcer for much of the tournament. James and Zoë were struck by the larger moral lessons being underscored as the game progressed.
“Kanglung Primary School, you have had the ball for quite a while now, but you haven’t done much with it. You need to focus.” After Kanglung scored, attention turned to the visiting team: “Yonphula, you need to do better. You need to try your best!” When Rangthung team lost, they heard, “I know it is very difficult, but you tried your hardest.”
Fans are fans, around the world.