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Saturday, March 6, 2010

205th Corps Swim and Water Polo Team's First Practice

I made sure that I gave myself enough time to leave the office and arrive at the pool early. I stopped by my tent, grabbed my bag of gear which included goggles, swimsuits, water polo balls, water polo caps, and some other miscellaneous items. I then borrowed a vehicle to drive over to Shorabak. Upon my arrival at the pool at 3:00 PM, I noticed that the pool was bone dry. Even though I was a little disappointed that there would be no water in the pool for the first water polo or swim practice in the history of Helmand Province, Afghanistan, I was optimistic of the outcome of today's practice. I patiently waited for the athletes to arrive and by 3:30 PM, not one athlete showed. Since I was concerned that I may have not understood where Captain Zebullah said I was to meet the athletes, I walked over to his office to see if the athletes were waiting there.

With his office locked, I was concerned that he may have been given wrong information of the intended start date and time of our practice. I looked around the other office spaces and Captain Zebullah was nowhere to be found and no one knew his whereabouts. Defeated, I started walking back to the vehicle I borrowed when I saw Captain Zebullah walking from a building. I walked over to him and we started trying to speak with each other.

With no linguist to assist us, he was able to effectively communicate to me that with the 205th Corps being sent to another city, he did not have athletes that would be here for more than a few days or weeks. He did not want to have them start and then disappear one night because their unit was moved to a new location. That would leave me with no players.


Even though this was one of Captain Zebullah's original concerns which I thought that we discussed and agreed on (Even though the soldiers were being sent to a new city, they would practice until they left), it just did not work out that way. However, he did speak with the Shorabak Garrison Commander, Colonel Safi, who agreed to meet with me in one week and he also made some headway with getting the pipe fixed at the pool.


With it not being a total loss, I was still back at square one. I thanked him for his assistance and said that I would meet him next week so he could introduce me to Colonel Safi. Disappointed and knowing that I had a lot of work waiting for me, I sadly returned to work. All of that energy and planning out the window. I hope that my upcoming meeting with Colonel Safi puts us back in the right direction.

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