Archive for March 3, 2008

Kazakhstan vs. Kyrgyzstan in American Football!!!

crowd in standsblue huddlefour AUCA playersHead Referee with playersKIMEP playersAUCA congratulatingPeter with cupKen with Kazakh flagBishkek cheerleaders

My perspective of the American football played yesterday between two Central Asian teams is a bit different from my husband’s.  I stood on top of a snowbank at about the 40 yard line among the cute little, Bishkek cheerleaders.  They said their team from Kyrgyzstan was undefeated for the past six games.  Yet in yesterday’s game their boys struggled to get the first touchdown after the guys in blue had already scored two.  The Bishkek team looked taller and more like American football players with their padding and smart looking jerseys of maroon and white.  I kept hearing the crowd behind me cheering “Bossy, Bossy!” or something like that.  I asked the AUCA cheerleaders what that meant, their answer “Snowcats” and the Kazakhstan team players are called “Titans.”

“Remember the Titans” because they won yesterday’s game even though they looked shorter and didn’t have the fanciest uniforms like the Bishkek team did. When offense traded places on the field with the defense there were several players who had to share pads and jersey, I actually felt sorry for the Titans even though they were winning. I have to admit my loyalties were divided.  I used to teach at the Bishkek school that started out as KAUF 15 years ago and now is known as AUCA (American University in Central Asia).  So, my favorite runner to watch was number 80 on the “Snowcat” team.  He was tall, slim and quick and he would often catch the quarterback’s long passes.  Great passes on both sides, so the QBs get much credit.  The Titans more so because they didn’t even have a coach.  They had asked Ken, my husband, but he had said no, he opted for reffing. 

Apparently there was a quarter break which I thought was the half.  The halftime show happened after Steve Green, the HEAD ref called the girls out to do their dance routines.  Keep in mind there was NO scoreboard with no time to show minutes remaining so I kept in my head what the score was.  My contribution to the game, besides watching “our guys” was supplying a notebook that was used by Dr. Bruce Taylor, the Vice President of Academic Affairs.  He had penned in large numerals of 1, 2, 3 and 4 for the downs so the crowd and the other team could see on the opposite side of the field yardage needed to complete their 10 yards as the teams advanced up and down the field.     


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American Football in Central Asia!!!

both Am. football teams

This eye witness report was written by my husband after he was referee for an American football game for three hours.  He hasn’t played football since 7th grade and actually prefers Kansas basketball and watching the Final Four playoffs.  I was very proud of my husband, the ref. This account is up close and personal, fun game to watch as the “ref’s wife.”

The American University of Central Asia (AUCA) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Planning have the only American football teams in this part of the world.   KIMEP won, 40-30, in a hard clashing game that left lots of bloody tape on the green turf.  The game was called when a Bishkek player broke his ankle.    The regulation European soccer field at the Central Stadium of the Army in Almaty is  both longer and wider than an American football field. Red cones on the far side mark of ten yard lines, and cardboard triangles mark them off on the spectator side.  There were no lines, but the fabric strips of the artificial strip run across the width and provide a basis for moving and spotting the ball.  Refereeing was “colorful” – a political science prof named Dr. Steven Green, and an economics prof named Dr. Gray, who  stopped to take a picture of scrimmage one night, and was not let out his office by five players who wouldn’t leave until I’d said that I’d find a ref for them, or do it myself.  The person I found couldn’t come when the game time was advanced.   Green knew what he was doing, and I must have some genetic American football encoding, because football facts kept coming to my head:  “forward progress stopped,”  “didn’t touch base while rounding second,” and “traveling with the ball,” for instance. None of my calls were challenged.  It is great to be over here where an American is qualified to do any thing he is called to do. The Bishkek team was outfitted in uniforms  donated by Evangel College in Springfield, Missouri.  Evangel will send a team to an even larger event to be held in Bishkek in May, with additional teams from Russia, Uzbekistan, and Turkey.   KIMEP players are short of equipment and had to share shoulder pads and jerseys as they sent replacements into the game. Crowd cheers included:  “Heez OUR Man!” “Touchdown!” and “Kazakhstan!”  Team chatter included:  “FACEMASK” “norMALna” and “Tovarishchi!”  God provided a sunny day.  A good time was had by all.

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