Archive - Nov 2009
Back during the summer I read Warren St. John's "Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman's Quest to Make a Difference." From the book's web site:
Outcasts United is the story of a refugee soccer team, a remarkable woman coach and a small southern town turned upside down by the process of refugee resettlement.
In the 1990s, that town, Clarkston, Georgia, became a resettlement center for refugees and a modern-day Ellis Island for scores of families from war zones in Liberia, Congo, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan. The town also became home to Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman who founded a youth soccer team to help keep Clarkston’s boys off the streets. These boys named themselves the Fugees -- short for refugees.
Outcasts United follows a pivotal season in the life of the Fugees, their families and their charismatic coach as they struggle to build new lives in a fading town overwhelmed by change. Theirs is a story about resilience in the face of extraordinary hardship, the power of one person to make a difference and the daunting challenge of creating community in a place where people seem to have so little in common.
I never played organized soccer, but I've had more interest in the sport as adult between following the World Cup and the boys each playing one or two seasons every year. The combination of the descriptions of youth soccer and the inspiring story of Luma doing whatever she can to make a difference in those kids lives makes for enjoyable reading.
MCC opened in 1919 on Townsend Street in downtown Midland. Amenities included a bowling alley, a meeting space for community organizations and an outdoor court. Swimming lessons were held in the Tittabawassee River.
“The kids were impressed by that,” said Jonathan Moore. He was at the celebration with his wife, Lisa, and two sons, Elliot, 8, and Finn, 6.
“We’ve come quite a ways from that,” Heye replied.
Moore said his family has a membership at MCC, and enjoys such activities as basketball and racquetball. Finn was jumping around in the bounce house, while Elliot made it clear what is his favorite center activity.
“Swimming!” he said.
Here are some photos and a video of Elliot competing in the basketball shooting contest (if I remember correctly, he tied for the high score in one of his tries but it obviously wasn’t this one):
Friday night the boys and I went to Midland’s 2nd playoff game (district championship). It was very similar to last week: early 13-0 lead, other team fights back to tie it up or take a small lead, but Midland eventually prevailed (link) while being aided in a big way by the opponent’s penalties.
Here are a few photos:
The young and relatively inexperienced crew of a starship must set off on a rescue mission when a madman goes on an intergalactic spree of revenge.
I liked it.
I give it 4 out of 5.