A former high school classmate and cherished old friend when reconnecting with Roger through Facebook quoted the old saying: "When God closes a door, he opens a window." The years have seen a number of life changes for us that make that adage ring true. After being blessed with good fortune, a wonderful son and great experiences, we decided to look out that window and prepare for more of what this wonderful life has to offer. We hope through our blog to share our journey from this point forward with family, with friends and with many others. Hopefully we'll make some new friends along the way. We hope you find our tales of some interest, even amusement and perhaps an inspiration for you to treat each and every day as an opportunity and an adventure to share with those who are an important part of your life.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ecua-volley anyone!

Here in Ecuador, weekends are for familia. You see families out and about together all over town, on the plazas and along the river if it's sunny. There's always much shopping at the mercados, in the centro and at the malls. And, of course, every Saturday afternoon (usually rain OR shine) families gather at the courts in the neighborhood parks to watch dads, brothers, cousins and friends compete in Ecua-volley.

Ecua-volley is the unique Ecuadorian version of volleyball and it's nearly as large a national sports pastime as futball (soccer, but don't call it that here!). In Ecua-volley, the net is slightly higher (I'm guessing about 10 to 12 inches; they use a standard soccer ball instead of the softer, lighter volleyball we're used to in the states and the teams are comprised of only 3 players. Scoring appears to be similar and the allowance of three touches is the same except that players are allowed a brief "hold" on the ball with their fingertips. Games are seriously competitive and there is usually two games going on in the standard paved courts in the park. These courts also function for futball, basketball and a rare game of tennis but Saturdays seem to reserved at virtually every one for Ecua-volley as teams gather to wait their turn at entering the court. We've only been to three different sites but it appears that the losing team loses the right to remain in competition while the winners stay to take on new challengers. There is frequently wagering between the teams and sometimes the exchange of cash is not insignificant. That can make for very spirited and intense competition. We witnessed one game in there were at least 3 dozen volleys across the net before a point was scored. Regardless if the game is competitive or casual, there is always a crowd of spectators, usually family members. If the facility is lighted, games may go fairly well into the evening. If the weather is good, pots of food and refreshment will probably appear toward the end of the day. Someone will bring a boom box and the band of victors, losers and spectators begins to blend into a neighborly gathering reminiscent of a large family reunion and picnic. On one of the first Saturdays we spent in our rental apartment, the gathering in the court behind our building lasted late into the night. Part of it then moved just down the street to a neighbors house and lasted until the wee hours of the morning. It may have kept us up alittle but the fun had by all involved was obvious.

The regular gathering of family and friends, including the weekly Ecua-volley games, are part of an enviable pattern of life here in Ecuador. Family, fun, sharing and fellowship are among some of society's best virtues here. We are delighted at being exposed to and sharing in it as we continue onward juntos en el camino de la vida!

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