By: Daniel Wyatt
The third time that we went to Costa Rica, Alex's whole family joined me and my family. When we arrived in San Jose, we were greeted by Pastor Padilla as usual, but this time he had a large blue bus for us to travel in. This was exciting and when we arrived at the Padilla home, they had the delicious meal we always have when we arrive in Costa Rica: creamed chicken, vegetables and rice. After dinner, we all talked with the Padillas about the soccer program and what we could do, and we came up with some good ideas, like trying to buy a piece of land to use as a practice field. It could be rented out in order to provide a permanent source of revenue for the program. We also talked about what was going to happen the next day, which was that we were going to see the One by One teams play. We were all excited about the opportunity, and the next day that was all that I could think about as we were riding around and visiting various churches that Pastor Padilla had in San Jose.
Before the games, we were brought into a tunnel with all of the players, and to see and meet all the boys who we were helping was very gratifying. All of us (the families and teams) were simultaneously clapping for each other, and that moment would be imprinted in the minds of all who were there for a very long time. The players were clapping to thank us for supporting them, and we were clapping for them and for what each player had achieved.
The introductions of the players built up the suspense of the games, and when the games actually started, everyone was ready to begin. The games started with the younger boys, and they were undersized compared to the Saprisas (the opposing team), but had massive amounts of heart and hustle, complemented with discipline and teamwork. Even though they fell short, it was an amazing game to watch. The older players were next, and they really knew what they were doing. The skill level that was shown was equivalent to college level in America. The jukes and speed impressed us tremendously, but so did the team work that was displayed. This team ended up winning 4 to 1 against a team that is known for being one of the best teams in San Jose.
It was a magical night that ended with us playing pick-up soccer with members of the Vuelo de Aguila church after the games, and all in all was one of the most memorable nights ever.