July 20: World Cup Soccer Day!

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World Cup Soccer Day, a camp favorite, was a gorgeous, sunny day filled with outstanding soccer and lots of face paint. The previous day each camper and staff member was assigned to one of six teams from a country around the world: Spain, England, Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, and Italy. Each team had a color they wore so they could be easily identified. After breakfast, the teams gathered to paint a team flag and each other’s faces, many getting crazy with paint on their arms and in their hair as well. When sufficient team spirit was aquired, the games began!

The teams split into two groups and played two games at a time on the game field and soccer field, starting with Brazil vs. Kenya and England vs. Ghana. Each game was timed in 20 minute games with 9 minute halves. Kenya defeated Brazil, 4 to 1, and Ghana shut out England 3 to 0. In the next set of games, Spain trimuphed against Brazil 3 to 0 and Italy nosed out England 3 to 2. But in the third game, Kenya and Spain duked it out, with Kenya nosing by 1 to 0. Italy shut out Ghana 3 to 0, establishing a morning lead for group B.

After lunch, another round of games began with the same teams against each other. This time, Kenya beat Brazil once again, but with a narrower gap (1 to 0), and England pulled together to defeat Ghana (3 to 2). Spain and Brazil tied 1 to 1 in game 2 and England nosed out Italy 2 to 1 in grand style. The third game of the afternoon saw two more ties between Kenya and Spain (2 to 2) and Ghana and Italy (0 to 0).

Once the scores were evaluated, four teams moved on to semi-finals at 5:00: Kenya, England, Spain, and Italy. Kenya played England, and though England pulled together as a team in their afternoon games for 2 wins, Kenya won 4 to 0. Spain also showed superb teamwork skills and shut out Italy 3 to 0. It was clear who our evening finalists would be: Kenya and Spain.

After dinner, a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Nikahu counselor Kendra Scott started the evening off with grace and style. Kenya and Spain dove into the game and Kenya scored early in the first half. Both teams had developed a great sense of teamwork by this point in the day and were operating as well-oiled machines. This teamwork proved effective, because right before half time, Kenya scored again.

As the teams began milling around the soccer field for halftime, the rumble of Gus the camp dump truck was heard coming from boy’s camp. Suddenly Aquabeard and the Mermen, this year’s camp band, burst onto the scene, rocking on top of the truck bed with Camp Director Nathan Bowen manning the driver’s seat. Lead guitarist and Boys’ Head Counselor Will, Bassist and LT/CIT Director Jeff Bailey, and Norman counselor Ryan “Aquabeard” Charlston pumped the jams while adoring fans danced and cheered. The moment they finished their set, they drove away still standing as the fans ran after. It was a memorable Crystal Lake moment.

The second half of the game started with as much gusto as the first, but Spain was unable to penetrate Kenya’s defense. As the second half came to a close, the humongous World Cup Trophy was brought out onto the field and lifted in the air by team Kenya. The team posed for a photo and there was cheering all around for everyone’s effort today. Everyone headed to the showers and then to bed, satisfied with a great day.

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