4 adults were the early risers who made arrangements from the night before to travel 4 hours by train to the waterway town of ancient Venice.
The boys were here to play in the biggest tournament of their young lives, and having recuperated gently, we started to focus on the business at hand: football.
Breakfast placing was rearranged to improve team bonding and discipline. It worked like a charm as the group flowed with ease and efficiency. With training at 10am, we lined and marched up the hill, getting there quicker than the day before, with a purpose in mind to improve daily. We took the half-sized turf-field at the front of the complex and began warming up, drills, and then small game simulations. A good session was had as the boys executed seamlessly, then we returned to the hotel for lunch.
Other parents trekked further up the hillside into town, happy to spend adult time at the shopping mall buying gifts and supplies. Lunch was at 1pm, followed by rest and change before a light double session at 4pm.
The boys came home happy late in the afternoon as we distributed newly-acquired Lockeroom Sports and Barita-branded training gears, including for supporters! Everyone’s spirits were lifted, dressed to match, and pictures were taken. Team commitment was now obvious by both players and parents, with multiple managers now assisting with everything.
Second practice session was good, concentration increased and the boys and their parents were full of smiles; we have started the football journey.
Marching down the hill, we were greeted with smiles, waves, and horns by the passing motorists. We responded loudly, with ‘Ciao’ or ‘Bonjour’…as if, we are Europeans.
Baths, dinner, and our surprise presentation to our hosts at the hotel of HVFC pennants, polo shirts, and jerseys were wildly appreciated by our new friends. Shouts of joy, bear hugs and kisses unfolded. Rapturous applause was spontaneous as we were treated to desserts of strawberry and cream.
The evening climaxed with the group gathering at the sports bar to watch the return of the 2-1 EUFA Champions League game between Real Madrid versus Bayern Munich in Spain. The first goal was scored before many sat down, which echoed loudly throughout the hotel as the little men went crazy as Bayern scored, making adults come dashing to witness the excitement in disbelief and the scare of confusion. These boys were deeply into the game, knowing every player, scoring equation, and casting votes aloud on who is a good player and who is not. The 2-2 game swung both ways start to finish and it exposed the fans of Real Madrid are about 60-40 in the advantage. Immediately, spaces and times were reserved for tomorrow night’s second semifinals with Liverpool, seeming to get the early supporters, let’s see how it goes then.
Bedtime beckoned for all.