Jun 10, 2006


The game was played down by the Source Vitelle, in back of a bordello owned by the father of one of Dash's classmates, Salim. The father also owns a hotel downtown, with a full bar, frequented by students and riff raff from the Middle Atlas. So I'm told; regrettably, I never went to it.

The soccer 'field' was no bigger than a oversized basketball court, with long grass and much of the field under water, from a nearby stream. As for the bordello, it appeared to be an old fashionned hotel, with archways under a red tile roof, an empty swimming pool, with a foul look to it, men on horseback, trash in the stream that runs past, and expensive black skinned cars parked out of sight.

Meanwhile, the game backfired. Dash rejected all last minute appeals that he play for ASI and went with his regular team from Asrou. In the huddle before the game the ASI players urged each other to 'squish Dash.' He didn't play until the second half. The Azrou coach put in all his second team who end the half with a one all tie. Dash was sure the second half would be an easy victory, but strange things happened. First, the ref, a 10th grader, is the brother of one of the ASI players and called it close to home. For his part, Dash played well, although not as aggressively as he needed to. Then late in the second half a bullet head standing on the sideline, and another brother of an ASI player told the Azrou coach, who is a distinguished man, a former AUI coach and a player national player years ago, that his mother was goat shit. Or something close to that.

Without a word the coach called all his players off the field and headed for the parking lot. But Nizar's father, Karim, a defense attorney who I've written about persuaded the coach to put his anger aside and let the game continue. It did, to a 2-all tie. Which lead to a shootout. Four players from each side. Dash got his, along with a teammate, but one boy missed and Azrou's last chance to tie the shootout fell to the coach's son, who is twice as tall as any other player and a year older and allowed to play because there was an older player on the ASI team. HIs name Ayoub and normally he lazers the ball in and no one ever sees it. But today he gave a perfunctory kick right to the goalie who falls on his knees like Brandy Chastain and takes off his jersey part way to reveal the Michelain man's belly. I turned away. It was all too awful. Then the son of the property owner made some snide remarks. I felt a strong case of child abuse coming on and went quickly to the car....

Next day, sure enough, Dash took even more hits because his team had won without their best player and as far as they're concerned Dash can't go back to America soon enough.

It might all have been different if Violetta had come. I invited her, but Dash said absolutely not. It would have all been too embarassing....

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