Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Our Local Football Tournament

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I have been a member of the first aid group of our village for a few years now. When I moved into the village 10 years ago I decided to join something or another with the idea “don’t ask what your village can do for you but ask what you can do for your village”– we have a few clubs in the village from gymnastics (no thankyou), a youth club (too old) and an elements club (Earth, Wind and Fire?) and nearly every town and village in Switzerland has its own first aid group. We meet once a month (now have around 30 members) and learn what to do if an accident happens. We plan various courses, such as CPR (heart massage), children’s emergencies, and general first aid for schools and people learning to drive – it is a must in Switzerland to pass a first aid test if you want to learn to drive a car. We also organise events involving the local fire station, knowing what to do if a building is burning and looking after the victims afterwards. If there is a large accident on the nearby motorway it could be that we are called out to help. We also have fun now and again when we make an annual excursion, celebrate the Christmas season together or go for a bar-b-q in the local forest.

Another function we have is to attend various sports occasions in the village and that was the case this week-end when the annual football tournament took place. A few villages in the surrounding areas were involved – junior teams as well as adult teams. On Saturday afternoon there was a special competition for fun. Groups of men and woman could form their own team and play against each other. This is basically more for fun, although some of these teams tend to take things seriously and this is when our help is generally called for.

Our group is present during the duration of the football games. We take turns and there are always two of us present. It is a completely voluntary organisation and we are not in it for the money, although we do get paid for our presence from the organisations now and again. As I work all week I am usually there at week-ends and this time I left hubby on his own with my oldest son and disappeared from two o’clock on Saturday afternoon until it was finished at half past ten in the evening.

From two to half past three we were looking after the matches being played by the juniors, boys and girls at the age of approximately 11-12 years. Here there were normal football teams of 11 aside. We do have a women’s league in Switzerland and the junior teams let the girls play as well. Of course we have spectators, mostly the father’s of the players who are sure their sons (and daughters) will one day find their career in professional football and take the occasion very seriously. Often a troubled father brings his child to our post (in this case a nicely equipped shed) when a problem occurs. Generally the junior teams suffer mostly from blisters on the feet caused by playing continuously one match after another in the football boots. Now and again the muscles get cramped or their might even be an insect sting to look after.

We are fully equipped with all sorts of bandages, cooling and warming ointments and disinfecting lotions in the case of an injury.

From four in the afternoon the men and women were called for for the “fun games”. Generally the teams are more 5-6 aside according to how many people can be encouraged to take part. A lot of imagination is applied with the various t-shirts worn with special inscriptions. Blisters were fewer, but cramps and bruises more. One goalie when saving a penalty, managed to bend his small finger back at an angle of 180° and will probably be paying a visit to the doctor next week. Otherwise luckily nothing serious happened. If anyone does get knocked out of breaks something we call for the ambulance at the local hospital and they take over.

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A tent is set up for refreshment and food and we as first aid help get everything free of course. As can be seen in the photos, the football pitch is quite big, comprising actually 3 small pitches, and lays at the foot of the Jura mountains. Nearby a deer was seen grazing in a field and the farmer was ploughing his land. It was quite an enjoyable day actually, meeting people we already knew from the villages and the weather remained sunny and warm. A bit too sunny and warm for some so we gave up with putting plasters on the injuries and used a light bandage and the plasters kept falling off through the heat.

At the end of the day the trophies were giving to the winning teams and we packed our medicines and ointments together. Today another two colleagues from the group will be standing watch and caring for the accidents.

Here is a link showing the photos I took on the day.

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