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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Coach Leaves, Big Demands, and Delays

Steve Scott left today. He was so involved in helping develop the first ever water polo team in Afghanistan, the 201st Corps Swim and Water Polo Team. I wish that he was able to stay until the completion of the season but I am so happy that he is going home to be with his family. I am sure that Steve realizes that he made an impact to the people of Afghanistan both as a mentor to the Pol-e-Charki Base Commander and the staff but also to the athletes. What I do not think Steve realizes is how much he will be missed and the extent of his contact has made. He was not like any other mentor from America or the western world. Normally, many of the mentors do a good job for the Afghan soldiers and then move on when their rotation is over. I will probably be one of those mentors as well. I will make positive changes and then leave where a new mentor will then do the same. However, Steve helped the Afghan people dream and showed them opportunities they would have never thought of. Through the swim and water polo team, he helped create heroes on the Pol-e-Charki Base and hopefully they will someday become heroes for their country. Just look at the photo with Steve Scott and Mohammad Amin. Pictures say a thousand words. It is a sad day…

Rohullah called and told us that we cannot have national team tryouts next week as we cannot secure a pool. All of the pools in the Kabul area are private pools and the owners do not want to close off the pool to its paying patrons. So, to compensate the owners for the pool time, the owners would like us to pay $500 per day, even though the pool would only be used for two hours each day. That is $250 per hour!!! Why so much? It is because it was mentioned to the pool owners that an American was involved. I guess they think that all Americans have money growing on trees back home (We only wish) or they think the US Government is going to pay for it. Either way, I have never paid more than $100 for pool time, even at the nicest facilities in the United States and I do not even have that kind of money.

So now our national team tryout is delayed. If we do not have the national team tryouts by the end of the month, we will have to wait until next year as Ramadan starts at the beginning of September this year and it will be too cold to swim after that. Rohullah and I are back at square one and need to find a pool. The Base Commander will not go for us using the base pool, especially since civilians would have to come aboard the base, Steve Scott is gone so he cannot help me convince the Commander, and Rohullah says that people would not travel out here for a national team tryout anyway. What are we to do?

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