September 29, 2014

Soccer Monks of Bumthang

These days there is a veteran’s football tournament organized by Jakar high school for those soccer enthusiasts of 30 years and above. Me and my colleagues from school have formed a team and under the banner of “Jakar FC” we are participating (the tournament is still going on).

And I was surprised to see a couple of monks playing in certain teams. I know that the monks of Kharchu Dratsang do play soccer, because on some weekends they come to my school to play on our ground. But I thought of them to be just novice players. I didn’t expect them to play so well (so stereotyping of me). But in these past matches I watched and played I saw three distinctive soccer monks.
[Three young soccer monks]

The first is nick-named Joe Cole (his real name is Samten something) and he seems very passionate about the game. Carrying a potbelly he doesn’t seem like a monk at all, when he plays with the jersey number 7 in team ‘Pulse’. I knew him from before this tournament, as I see him in town, a lot. He is very friendly, with everyone and is a humorous guy. Our teams have yet to meet in this tournament.

The second soccer monk I saw plays as a winger (jersey number 11) in JaDzong team. He is a thin average-bodied monk, with sure feet and can tackle quite a good bit. I know this for sure because our teams had two ‘friendly’ matches before the onset of this tournament, I played against him twice. Our teams meet in the final legs of the league round of this tournament.

The third soccer monk is the goalie of Upper Chhoekor FC. When I played for that team during the ‘Chumey Open Tournament’ he was not our goalie, so I didn’t meet him then. But now we are opponents, I have to play against my previous team and deal with a monk goalie. He is a stout guy, with a giant of a body but very quick on his feet. He has saved a lot of ‘sure’ goals from many strikers of other teams, but he hasn’t encountered KK till now. Our match was supposed to be played today at 4 pm but had to be postponed by 24 hours. So I will be scoring against him tomorrow.

These are the three soccer monks I came across while playing in this Veterans (30+) Football Tournament played at Ugyen Wangchuck Stadium at Chamkhar Town of Bumthang Dzongkhag.