Natalie Portman (Flashback)

The following is a play by play of events along with my thoughts which took place during the staff versus student soccer game at Sir Samuel Baker.

"You will not score on me!"

“You will not score on me!”

4:00 PM – Game time baby, it’s time to show these boys what this munu can do.

4:04 PM – After warming up for a few minutes: Okay, I am just goitry and survive out there.

4:08 PM – The team captain moved me from midfielder to striker on the lineup card.  Are my foot skills really are that bad…!

4:30 PM – Why hasn’t this game started…oh that’s right, TIA.

4:50 PM – Still waiting on a real soccer ball to get to the field.

5:15 PM – The ball finally arrives: Thank goodness, now let’s get this started.

5:25 PM – Waiting on a whistle…really?!?

5:30 PM – I tie an American Flag banana around my head in honor of Independence Day…what up America?!  … Are we still really waiting on a whistle?!

We played four student vs staff soccer games while I was in Uganda

We played four student vs staff soccer games while I was in Uganda

5:45 PM – Kickoff…only an hour and 45 minutes late.

(2’) – Most of the student body and faculty surround the soccer field.  There are several hundred people watching.  Is it sad that there are more spectators here by far than I 
ever had at a baseball game in my entire life?!

(6’) – The students score after our goalie failed to hang onto a
rebound: Crap this is going to be a long game.  Students : 1  Teachers: 0

(10’) My colleague gave me a nice cross and I completely whiffed on
the finish: What are the chances that nobody saw that?!

(13’) Is this game close to being finished, I am physically exhausted!

(16’) GOOOOOAAAAALLLLL!! – Somehow I ended up with the ball and a clearing at the 18-yard marker and fired away…my shot was well wide but it bounced off of a defender and it went in.  It was probably an own goal, but I am going to take credit for it.  Who is the badass now, kids?!  These aren’t exactly kids we are playing, either…most are over the age of 18.  Students: 1  Teachers: 1 

(17’) – The students immediately answer with a goal.  S%#T.  Students: 2  Teachers: 1

Student vs Staff football game action.

Student vs Staff football game action.


(21′) – I think I just pulled my hamstring muscle in my left leg… 

(22′) – Yep, definitely pulled my hammy…oh well, my pride is more important.

(27’)I wonder what is for dinner at the house…wait, the game started so late there will be none left anyway.  I could really use some Subway…and a cookie…and a milkshake…and some peanut butter M&M’s.  …I just missed someone’s pass…I should probably pay attention.

(34’) – The students have had complete control of the possession all game as I aimlessly make run after run praying for a good through ball…it never came…well this is a lot of fun.

(41’) – A foul on the students led to a free kick for the teachers. The old man our team who kept getting burned on defense collected a loose rebound and put it through the goal (literally through the goal because there are no nets).  How is this game close at all??  Students: 2  Teachers: 2

(45′) – Half time.  How this game is a draw right now is beyond me, we have been absolutely dominated.  Headmaster Churchill gives us a major pep talk.

(52′) – The students score an easy goal after one of our defenders got burnt on the offside trap.  In celebration one decided to do a back flip right in front of me.  It is on now…you’re my next candidate for a slide tackle!  Students: 3  Teachers: 2 

(63′) – Every time I run at full speed after the ball the crowd laughs at me…I wonder if it is because I am a mzungu and am kind of fast or that I run awkwardly.  (I was later informed it was both…)

(65′) – A handball by one of the students gave us a free kick close to the it is time for my header that will tie this bad boy up again.

(66′) – GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLL!!!  The teacher who kicked our free kick bent it like Beckham and put it in the back of the net…well, if there were a netStudents: 3  Teachers: 3 

(68′)I wonder if Natalie Portman digs soccer players.  I may have to start seriously practicing…

(75′) – Goal Students…the thunderous crowd has come alive…most cheering against their peers and for the teachers.  Students: 4  Teachers: 3 

(84′) – I hustle after a ball and kick it off of a defender to force a corner kick.  This could be our last opportunity to score…is there an oxygen tank around anywhere?  I cannot move. 

(85′) – Godfrey’s initial corner kick was deflected but it rolled back to him.  He juked out a defender and put a perfect cross in front of the goal.  I leapt and met the ball with my head and watched it sail towards the far corner of the goal, well away from the keeper.  For Natalie! I thought as I watched the ball sail six inches wide.  Well crap.

I watched with my arms up in celebration only to see my header sailed just wide.

I watched with my arms up in celebration only to see my header sailed just wide.


(88′) – A teacher attempted a shot from 18 yards out as I rushed towards the goal…I watched the ball roll out of bounds two feet wide but a mob of students behind the goal started cheering as if it was a goal…Confused, I decided to put my hands up and celebrate as if we had actually scored and it worked; the ref signaled a goal and the crowd erupted!! …That is what you get for doing a back flip in front of me you little jerksStudents: 4  Teachers: 4 

(89′) – In a protest to the controversial goal that was not, the students all ran off the field in a near riot only to be forced back on by the head teacher…what have I done?!  This all of the sudden got a bit scary.

(90′) – The referee blows his whistle three times signaling the end of the game, a 4-4 draw.  I held my own, but I won’t be able to walk tomorrow.

Due to the controversial finish and popular demand, a rematch as been scheduled for Monday, July 9th.  It starts at 4:00 PM, just in case you are reading this Natalie…you will probably be okay showing up by 5:00.


The third week of school had both its good moments and moments in which I was completely frustrated.  I’ll start with the bad:

–          I had three computer lessons this week and in all three the power went out right in the middle…with all three of these lessons the generator also quit working.  No electricity means no hands on learning for the students.

–          I was a bit frustrated in history class because I felt like we were making progress in the form of team teaching and attempting new methods…until Thursday when Doris decided to dictate (read and reread until the students write down word for word what is said) notes for 40 straight minutes.  I did not get a chance to teach during that class at all.

–          Connecting with the students on a personal level is very difficult because they are not used to anything like that from their teachers.  When I asked a few of my colleagues why they don’t really talk to the students the answer I most often received is: We need to remain professional and ensure that the students have respect for us.  My teaching style revolved around talking with students and making connections…

The positive from my third week teaching:

–          I am making great relationships with much of the staff.  I have been helping a few of them with their computer skills whenever we get the chance.

–          A few students have started coming up to me on a regular basis to talk.

–          One group of students asked Jessica, Sarah and I to help them get a youth magazine for all of Gulu started…not sure how I feel about their initial proposal but the fact that they are ambitious is really cool.

–          The staff vs. student soccer game was so much fun.

–          We had a two day professional development conference on Friday and Saturday.  This conference was all of the teachers, both western and Ugandan, from every school participating in the Teacher Exchange Program.  This was a great experience as we discussed what dynamic teaching really is.  I hope that many of my colleagues got as much out of it as I did.

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