Friday Night Lights

Or, more accurately: Sunday Afternoon, No lights.

In the US, many communities rally around their high school’s football team.  In Hungary, the community gathers to watch the village soccer team play.  In August, we were fortunate to be in Balatonederics (our home village at lake Balaton) on a Sunday when the village team had a home game.

On a morning bike ride, we knew there would be a game as some of the streets around the field were blocked off and vendors were already staking out their territory near the field. At 2PM, Daniel, Matthew, and I walked to the field for the start of the match.  Here you can see the teams gathering at the start of the match:

Balatonederics is in the blue, while the visitors from the village of Nyirád were in the red.  As you can see, the teams wear nice uniforms and there are officials assigned to the match.  The teams are not affiliated with the schools, and the players’ ages vary greatly; the captain of the Balatonederics squad (standing next to the referee) is probably about 50 years old and played as one of the center defenders.

These two pictures show the vendors outside the stadium and the villagers gathered to watch the game.  The vendors sold mainly toys, though there was some food and drinks and also pony rides. The gameday was quite windy and chilly, so I think the crowd was rather small and business was slow.

Above is one action photo from the actual game.  We’ve played on the field on non-game days; it’s bumpy and dusty and makes for some uneven bounces.  Overall, the quality of play was pretty good given the small sizes of the villages involved. The most skilled player (to my untrained eye) was actually the old captain for Balatonederics. He didn’t move that well but was always in a good position and handled the ball very well.  Daniel though that #11 in the center of the picture looked like former president Franklin Pierce, so we referred to him as such throughout the match. Balatonederics seemed to be the better team, but neither team scored, at least up until the 80th minute when the rains came and Nagypapa fortunately drove over to pick us up.

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