Football is a big deal in Europe.  One of the third year students here at school is doing his practicum in Skopje, but is here in Sauk to take a special two week course on Islam.  Dardajan is in his early twenties and was considered a professional soccer player until 17 years of age.  I didn’t know this before, but from age 12 or so on, soccer prospects of a certain level of ability are groomed for a life in cleats and are called “professional.”  It sounds a little like the process Olympic Athletes go through; they aren’t given a wage, and have to fund their own uniforms and coaching.  Tonight Dardajan’s favorite team since childhood was competing to stay in the hunt for the Series A Title.  When he asked me if I would like to accompany him to a local place with televisions dedicated for soccer viewing, I had to accept.

Associazione Calcio Milan has been a force in Italian football since 1899.  After watching the game tonight, I can understand the excitement not only around Milan and championship football, but around the game of soccer as a whole.  Any sport has the capacity to hook a viewer when they are compelled to follow the actions of a specific competitor.  No one roots for swimming, or even for United States Swimming, but millions of people root for Michael Phelps.  The most interesting person on the television tonight was a man named Zlatan Ibrahimovic.  The most interesting people aren’t always the champions.

In the morning, Pastor Bill Bates from Centralia Washington will be flying to Dallas Texas for some time with his family en-route to his home church.  It has been a blessing to have him here and I do hope you look him up for a cup of coffee on your way to Portland sometime.