Today, Gabe and I went to see Angola play Nigeria in the African Amputee Football Cup of Champions at Anthony Tubman Stadium (SKD) in downtown Monrovia. The feel of the game and the stadium reminded me of going to see minor league baseball when I was a kid. The stadium wasn’t huge, but it was better than my old high school stadium. The seats even had little backs to them – not a full back, but a good 9 inches for you to lean against. There were even kids selling popcorn, candy bars, and yes, even beer. Gabe and I bought some snacks, but felt a little snobby since we were the only white people there and also the only ones eating snacks. But it did feel kind of homey to sit and eat snacks while watching sports. The game was also free to attend, which is always nice.
The field was in really good condition. The grass looked well taken care of, and the lines were clearly marked. My only complaint was that the field was smaller than a regulation soccer field. They may only have one leg, but that one leg is just as strong as anyone else’s. They could easily clear the ball from one end of the field to the other. If it were up to me the field would be longer. That’s all I’m saying.
The players all had professional uniforms and looked very sharp. If it weren’t for the peeling paint on the stadium and their lack of limbs, you would think you were watching professional players. I did notice that none of them had custom crutches that properly fit them. They all seemed to be playing with your standard one-size-fits-all aluminum crutch. One guy even had a pair of wood crutches that looked to be made out of a couple of sticks. This is a shame. These guys should have custom-made carbon fiber crutches with silicon gel pads and specially formulated rubber feet that are made to take the abuse of this sport. I know Tech has a prosthetics department, so I tried to think of who I should email over there to see if they can help. If you know, please tell me. Gabe and I talked about how you would think someone would sponsor these guys with some high tech equipment. I’m sure there’s some company out there that makes this kind of stuff that could easily afford to donate some equipment. I’m sure the American amputee soccer team isn’t using one-size-fits-all crutches.
All of that aside, the game was a lot of fun to watch. The players can pull some sick moves when they plant their crutches and then come swinging at the ball. We even saw a few slides. The action is pretty non-stop. It’s amazing to watch two players chasing after the ball. They can move pretty fast. The players also didn’t take any falls. I hate watching pro-soccer when one player barely taps another and the guy goes down grabbing his knee. There was none of that. These guys are too good for it. The crowd was also really into it, which made it even better. They would cheer and yell whenever something happened. Many times, people here will make a high pitched “eeeh” when something happens that surprises them. So it was cool to hear a whole crowd of people “eeeh” when a player pulled an awesome move.
When we left, Nigeria was up 1-0. It was a lot of fun, and I’m glad we went. I’d love to go again.
Later that evening I went to the Mercy Ship for a Bible study. I had my camera with me, and the sunset was pretty, so I took a few pictures of Freeport at dusk. I downloaded a hacked firmware update for my Canon PowerShot SD1000 that lets me shoot pictures in RAW format. I’m told this should preserve more of the color depth of my images compared with the camera saving them as JPGs. I don’t really know what I’m doing, but the colors did seem a little more vivid. Hope you like them.