Read on for a great (and hilarious) guest post for Gregor Rabong, one of our exchange students from Vienna. This is just one example of the great ways you can get involved at UVM to meet other students and have a full “college experience”!
When I was explaining to my friends and my family what I want to do and what I expect from university when I go to America, I always mentioned that I go to America not only to study, but that I also want to learn something about American sports, as I was always interested in Ice-Hockey, American Football and also Lacrosse. I told them that I will definitely try out Lacrosse and maybe also rowing, as these are two sports that are not very popular in my home country Austria.
In fact all these plans became obsolete as soon as I met other international students, who were (unsurprisingly) all more interested in soccer than more typical American sports. During Orientation week it was especially easy for us to go to the gym and play soccer, as the university had not yet officially begun. Quickly we became a group of 6 to 10 people that nearly every day played some soccer. When we heard of some international students soccer team that played inter-mural sports last year, we decided to do so as well, to show the Americans how to kick the ball right.
Another international student from Great Britain, the birthplace of soccer, and I went to the managers meeting and our “International Students Soccer Team” was born! The only problem – due to university schedules and other engagements, some of our players dropped out, and we had to figure out how to get enough (7 + substitutes) players to contribute in our games that were held on Wednesdays. Thanks to some 15 times that we had already played in the gym, we already knew some American players, which we invited to our team. At first they were a little upset about or teams name and changes to “The Earth Defense League”, “The U.N.” or “Interpol” were considered. In the end we stuck with “International Students Soccer Team” even though half of our team was actually American players, because a lot of them already have had a semester abroad and therefore were “international students” as well.
We set up practices every Monday to discuss “strategies” before we had the games. Wednesday, September 11 2013, our first game. We were all very excited and felt very confident, as we had a good practice the Monday before, an unbelievably good goalie and also our striker was in a good mood. We even got our own song to motivate ourselves, and some of us considered to do a specific dance, when we scored a goal. Kick off – approximately 3 minutes were played, and the ball rolls behind the goal line – out! Our goalie stops playing (thinking the ball is out) and the other teams player shoots the ball into the net. The referee blows his whistle and gives the goal!! What a mistake! Unbelievable – all our high expectations ruined from a bad call! Shocked from this happening, we in the end lost 9:2, what a disgrace! What a disappointment!
Even though, we got defeated at the first game, we tried our best to not lose our team spirit and we tried to play better next time. We changed our strategy a little bit, but we still lost again, this time 4:1. The requirements for our last game were not the best as we played against the team that was leader in our group and that had defeated the team that won 9:2 against us by 5:0 the week before. Given these preconditions, it was a miracle how well we played! We managed to score the first goal after 13 minutes and some people danced for the first time! Ahead 1:0, what a feeling! Close to the half time break, the other team managed to equalize. 1:1 – Halftime. We were all so confident to finally win a game, even against the leader of our group. We knew that we were able to do it and so we did our best in the second half as well. What happened in the end was another disgrace – we lost 7:3, but all of us knew, this was our best game so far.
Even though we lost our games in the group stage, we could participate in the playoffs as the so called “sports manship” points were crucial and not the wins/losses. For all that are not following any sports, “Playoff” means that you drop out if you lose, not the best prerequisites for us… Still we were confident that we can defeat every team after the last game, where we were so close (Even though the result may tell something else). Our playoff game was set on a Monday, the problem with this was that several players had no time to play for us that evening. Even worse, I got ill and it was very unlikely that I would be able to play. Thanks god one of our internationals, that had injured himself 4 weeks earlier was finally cured and able to play.
The game was finally there and we had to play with a different team than normally, due to all the drop outs. I went to the game to take some pictures, and to give “advice” from the sideline, even though I still felt sick and should have studied for an exam. Just in case somebody injured himself, I also brought my cleats and my apparel. The game started and we played really, really well. We lost a goal some minutes before halftime break, and everybody was a bit disappointed, because we knew that the other team was definitely beatable. I couldn’t just watch the game anymore and changed clothes to play with the “International Soccer Team” one more (last?) time. Second half we had many chances, but unfortunately no luck. We lost the game – this time 4:0. It was over!
Even though we actually lost all of our games, I will remember the time with the team, the fun we had, the dance and also the song that we always played before the game. My team was the best! I couldn’t have imagined anything better than this! I hope the others enjoyed it as much as I did, and I am sure we will keep on playing until the time comes when we have to go back to our home universities again.