I don’t know why anybody likes soccer.   It is about as exciting, IMO, as watching grass grow.  But Iraqis like the game a lot and we get some significant public relations mileage out of building and/or rebuilding soccer fields.

The soccer field is in back of the kids.  In Iraq, you don’t even get to watch the grass grow on the soccer fields.  All they do is smooth out that dirt and put in a kind of a sub base.  We are going to fix this soccer field up.  The local kids are excited about it.  When we got out of our cars, they all came running over.

The kids in Rutbah are a little less spoiled than some others.   They were friendly w/o expecting too much candy.  It is funny because kids are similar all over the place.  We asked them if they got to use the field very often.  They said it depended on whether bigger kids came along to run them off.  I remember exactly the same experience.  We used to play football in Humboldt Park.  We got to use the flat, good places to play until some bigger kids came and ran us off.  On the other hand, we would run off any groups who were smaller than ours.

Now that I think about it, the big kids never actually had to run us off and we never actually had to run off any littler kids.  You would see the group coming and make a general estimate of their total mass.   If their total mass was greater than ours, we would pick up our ball and run away.   Kind of an interesting system.  Prepares you well for adult life.

In any case, we have done soccer fields before and will do this one in Rutbah.  I told my guys that I want to see it done before I leave and that I want a few drought tolerant trees nearby, so that people can sit in the shade and not only have to watch soccer.  The kids will  be happy.