Watching from the dugout of the women’s kickball team in California was a real treat.
Since women’s sports in Nicaragua is very limited, I was lucky that I made it in time for the start of the game.
There was a sharp-eyed woman that was keeping score and calling out names, instructing the team members on some plays. I knew her as one of the well-known faces of the Gran Pacifica Resort, Veronica Gutierrez Cruz. There were also plenty of moms, dads, uncles, brothers, and spouses all milling about talking and watching the game.
Margelly Zuniga, the team captain, was observing the game. She was quite vocal about what was happening throughout the game. Margelly has been playing for five years in California. She is related to half of the community, so she can always find a few more team members if needed!
Team Captain Margelly ZunigaThe Gran Pacifica kickball team began playing with the California team in late 2016. The team was organized by Joanne Stoltz and is comprised of Gran Pacifica staff members and residents. Margelly, Angela Smetana, Ellen Roose, and Becky Niklas from Gran Pacifica all supported the team uniforms. Angela, a former resident of Gran Pacifica, had played sports in the U.S. for 15 years and was a highly desired kickball player. Being foreign to the rules of Nicaragua’s game, she noticed some fundamental differences in the game.
Team Members 2018
Angela noticed one key difference when playing on a Latin-based team is that the women are very expressive when stating opinions on plays, and not shy in challenging the referee or each other. She mentioned that in the U.S. the game is much more reserved. In Nicaragua, only men can serve as referees because women are still not appropriately trained and often get in disagreements.
Team Chatting with Referee
Another key difference in the game is the field conditions. In Nicaragua, you may have to stop the game for a herd of cows or a dog wandering into play. There could be dips or holes in the ground, so a player needs to be careful and not twist an ankle while running after the ball. The teams are responsible for cleaning up after the game and marking the field before the game.
The two teams playing the game are also required to pay the referees for each game. If one team does not have the means to pay others will step up to the plate. Angela mentioned, “anyone who can contribute, does.” Nicaraguans love to play. It is a cultural norm, and it takes some of the stress out of daily work and home life.
Fun with Ice Cream
Angela recalled some fond memories of being carted off in a big truck full of women, children, coolers, and plastic chairs to an “away game”. She said that one time the truck had to stop prematurely because the road wasn’t wide enough to get through, so the team had to walk about a half a kilometer just to get to the field. Nothing ever deterred them from getting to their game!
Kickball is another activity that is close to Gran Pacifica Resort that residents and guests can enjoy. Just ask at front desk if there is a women’s kickball game coming soon. You will find that everyone in Nicaragua looks forward to a good game of kickball.
If you're planning a visit to Nicaragua, come stay at Gran Pacifica. Book your reservations here, and have some fun watching a game during your stay.
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