Here, on the playground of the SOS Hermann Gmeiner School Lahore the boys play Cricket most of the time. They like other sports but no one would admit that he prefers anything over spinning the 6 Stitch on the pitch. Sometimes though, as a matter of some exercise (Cricket is not very exhausting) the boys play soccer here. 20 against 20, they whirl up the dust in summer and even more in winter when the temperatures allow longer games.
SOS Children’s Villages is an international NGO with origins in Austria. It’s aim is to give orphans a place to live, to grow up and to find a family. In Pakistan, the oldest village is in Lahore, including a school for 1200 children from the adjacent areas as well.
Often the boys spend their afternoons (and sometimes even early mornings, for important matches) in front of the TV to follow their Pakistani cricket team playing some match against Australia, South Africa or India. They invite me to watch as well, but I seldom manage to stay awake following this game. I don’t find it very entertaining. The boys mock me for favouring soccer over cricket. ‘What is that,’ they would say, ’22 people are fighting for a ball to kick it in the other’s goal. Why all this aggression for a piece of leather?’ This comment perfectly fits the Pakistani attitude to many things in life. Pakistanis are friendly and prefer to relax with a chai – no tension. They welcome you and any possible hard confrontation they try to avoid. Which is sometimes pleasing but can also end up in not trusting the other.
Cricket is the perfect sport in this case and why all the rush for a ball, when we can stand around on the cricket field, awaiting the next tea break.