GAME 11: Yuexiu Park, Guangzhou, China


THE LAUGHING GAME !

In a mega city of 30 million people, there’s only one thing for it! Find some peace before you go nuts! I found peace in the massive and impressive Yuexiu Park. I’d been strolling round for an hour, watching as the older locals practiced their tai chi and ballroom dancing moves (?) and young lovers walked hand in hand with selfie-sticks beneath the blossoms. After about an hour, I found myself near the amusement park. That was where I met the jianzi players. I'd seen the game being played in Vietnam too; its really keepy-ups with a modified shuttlecock called a 'key'. The players were outstanding! The key rarely touched the ground as it was passed around in groups of 4; some proper teckers going on!


After 10 minutes or so, I approached one of the groups with the idea of having a kick-a-bout. One or two of the men were unsure, but all the women soon sorted them out and the match was on! A 4 v 4 and one of the funniest games yet. The players screamed with laughter all the way through and had a great time! They chased the ball in shoals and fell about laughing after every tackle. Clearly, footy wasn’t something they were used to; couldn’t fault their enthusiasm throughout. The game fizzled out at 2-1 as people stopped for a break. Not a classic football wise, but in terms of pure enjoyment it will take some beating ! I was invited to play a game of jianzi afterwards. I started like a trooper but faded badly and, hilariously, my team got fed up with me and sat down ! Brilliant laugh from start to finish today. Thank you all !!!