My Pelada

Posted: January 2, 2011 in Sports

A street where football is played with samba moves.


The neighborhood is filled with fresh cut grass, where children waving their hands carrying homemade signs and their body language implies a rhythmic samba steps. The cheers coming from them make it easy for me to blink my lazy morning eyes.My olfaction is restricted with the sharp smell of grass. It’s an odor that makes me believe life is nothing but a green pitch. And Pelada street is my pitch!

It starts with the referee’s whistle. I strap on my jacket with great enjoyment and head towards the pelada field with other samba fans. The rush started and the weather began to sprinkle.The rain drops and the mingling wind joined together to perform the samba tunes. At that moment, The air was filled with screams and yells. How powerful the pelada street is! Flags and scarves were waving like Brazilian curves. They twirled rhythmically in the wind. And the paper scoresheet was blown over and following my steps by the corner of the street.

As the rain rolls down my face my eyes start to shut down. My hands start to sweat. I am having hot flashes in a freezing weather. Suddenly, I feel a gentle breeze. I look up, but all I can see is a glare from the yellow sun, and a smile from the green grass which revived me in one of the most tensed Friday mornings in my yearly calendar.

I look around me, all shops were closed, and the neighborhood was occupied. Even ‘El Arbi’ the neighborhood morning guard vanished from my sight. All the crowd from men, women and children were captivated by pelada fictional stadium. Even taxies gave no service. Knowing that the game have just started, the faster I walked. Just then, I heard the fans screaming…Goaaaaaaaaal!

I fought my way against the wind. The crowd got all wet through by the sobbing for samba victory. At that moment, I saw ‘Sokaina’, the old lady who is always in green and yellow dress, rushing to her bakery shop on the right hand side of the street despite the chaos taking place in pelada. And ‘Mehdi’ the face painter staining calmly yellow and green paint on his face, saluting pelada street football. Now I can only smell the yeast, and flour mixed with sugared water. As I only hear ‘one Dirham….one Dirham.’ Sokaina is celebrating with her freshly-baked Pao de Queijo. How exciting! I was celebrating too in a downbeat street in Morocco I call, my pelada.


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