Looking back

As Congress mulls over SOPA and PIPA, I blog away, happily taking advantage of the freedom of our internet, soaking up and adding to the information pool.

I’m back at SIU’s  Morris Library, at a window seat (the best kind) sipping on a caramel latte (the best kind), content to be back at home in my home-away-from home that is this library and this campus.

My experience with National Geographic came to end about a month ago. I still have things to say and my geographic education continues, but for now, the blog will be on stand-still.

I left NGS headquarters loaded down with canvas bags filled with the books I had collected throughout the semester, a blow-up globe, mind full of “what now?” questions, heavy heart, and eyes on the ground. I walked towards the bus-stop, feet moving out of habit. Lo and behold, there was a Starbucks giftcard on the ground! It stopped me in my tracks, and I welcomed the distraction. It was one of those moments where you don’t want to go home. You don’t really want to be anywhere, you  just want to lull about, be between spaces. I wanted the geography of lost.

And so, I detoured. I purchased my free coffee (a final gift from DC, perhaps?), and started walking south. Dead-ending in Lafayette Square,  I sat on a bench in front of the White House, my books on my lap, wondering what the Obamas were up to. I felt melancholy, reminiscent, and above all,  grateful. I adored my time in DC. It was thrilling to work at the society which had first sparked my interest in people, place, the environment, words even, as I thumbed through National Geographic as a child.

An American girl in an American city; sitting in front of the White House, an international symbol for education, freedom, and power… gosh, I felt blessed. I felt overwhelmed. The answer to my “what’s next?” question clearly was: “whatever you would like.”

By the time my coffee had gone cold and my fingers had numbed and the sun had set, I had snapped out of my musings and boarded the bus, heading “home” to Columbia Heights for the last time. I was joined the next morning by two mid-western friends, who drove out to pick me up and bring me home. We spent the weekend trekking about the monuments, ate Portuguese-Mozambiqan food, packed up my stuff, and on Monday, we drove west.

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After I graduate in May, I’ll be getting married. In June, Graduate School officially begins. Still in the Geography department, but focusing more on the administration of sustainability in higher education institutions. So a busy few months, to be sure. The adventures in the geography of learning just keep on coming.

NatGeo celebrates their 10,000th grant!

In 1961, 26 year old Jane Goodall arrived at Gombe Stream Game Reserve in Tanzania, funded by the National Geographic Society to research chimpanzee behavior. She had neither scientific nor zoological training. Because the idea of a young woman studying wild animal all by herself in Africa seemed so shocking to British authorities, her mother Vanne chaperoned her for several months.

What a lady.

Since Jane’s groundbreaking research in chimp behavior, National Geographic has continued to fund scientific or exploratory research. Today, they fund Explorers like Jane as well as Young Explorers.

On December 8, 2011, National Geographic celebrated their 10,000th research grant

Headquarters celebrated all week with special guest speakers, commemorative events, and sweetest of all, cupcakes. Historical days in National Geographic’s thrilling, storied past are many, and diverse. I’m so glad I was able to witness one first-hand.

“The National Geographic Society has been exploring the world for 125 years…”

For a stunning gallery of National Geographic “firsts,” visit their 125th Anniversary Page here.  For a list of impressive women who have worked with National Geographic, visit the gallery here.

Forgive the poor quality of this photo… I took it with my phone prior to chowing-down. Cupcakes courtesy Georgetown Cupcakes.

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Building Ethics

M Street Building and 17th Street Building, NGS. Photo by Rebecca Hale, courtesy NG.com

This morning I ducked out of work briefly to attend a building tour of NGS headquarters to see what “green” infrastructure we have here. What I mean by green, of course, is energy efficiency, waste reduction, and other smart building features. The tour was led by a nice guy named Kenny, one of NatGeo’s engineers. Each of the NGS buildings is certified LEED Gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design by the U.S. Green Building Council).

Some things Kenny pointed out on the tour:

  • The landscaping irrigation system here has moisture sensors, so during times of rain or moist soil, the plants are not watered. Additionally, plants used in landscaping here are either native to the area or have adapted well to the area and do not require a lot of water to grow.
  • The 17th street  building uses steam converter water heaters to heat water efficiently.
  • Since LEED efforts began in 1996, NGS has reduced water use by 30% and electricity use by 18%. “You wouldn’t believe what our energy bill is each year!” Kenny joked.
  • NGS is not currently considering solar options to meet their energy needs because it is not cost-effective for them due to building constraints.
  • All of the NGS roofs are white or light-colored. This helps reflect sunlight and keep cooling costs down. In the future, as NGS needs to replace or repair roofs, they will look into green roofs as an option. A green roof has plant cover. Often the plants take very little water, and help insulate heat in the winter and absorb heat in the summer, helping with heating and cooling costs. Additionally, they are aesthetically pleasing and help filter and cool city air.
  • NGS is considering doing away with window-facing and corner offices… you know, the rooms the head honchos have. By switching these enclosed offices to center-floor space and putting cubicles along the perimeter where windows are located, more natural sunlight could be used to light office space. Additionally, more people would benefit from the mood-enhancing effects sunlight has. Finally, because cooling vents are located along the perimeter of walls, it would help distribute cool air more effectively. I thought this was such a neat concept. In thousands of corporate office buildings across the nation, people in administrative or supervisor positions have window offices, while other employees work in windowless offices or inner-floor cubes. It’s almost as though that has become a “tradition” of office-space organization. I thought it was great that NGS is considering sacrificing the perks of a few for the benefit of many. I look forward to hearing more about this.

Other sustainable initiatives at NatGeo include composting, recycling, using products that have Post Consumer Recycled (PCR) content, facilitating a CSA for employees (Community Supported Agriculture… NGS acts as a liason between interested staff and a local farmer. Staff sign up to purchase weekly food deliveries from this farmer) and employee “free swaps.” Last week, for example, we had a company swap-meet that was essentially a free rummage sale. I snatched a novel and a great chopsticks set! In similar fashion, each department has shelves where they put old items (dictionaries and other books, photos, small electronics) for other departments to adopt or for employers to take home.  Once a year NGS sells old furniture to staff or donates it to local organizations. The concept is to reuse products until they can no longer be used instead of constantly upgrading to the “latest and greatest!” product, thereby creating waste. Is every chair, trash can, and desk uniform and identical here? No. Is that necessary for a business to function properly? Certainly not.

NGS also makes efforts to encourage carpooling and sustainable transportation. This year they were voted one of the most “bike-friendly” companies because of indoor bike-storage options, showers for bikers, and biking incentives. Bike culture begins at the top of the chain here. CEO John Fahey leads a 15 mile bike outing on most days during the lunch hour. Other fitness options for staff include a free gym in basement, staff soccer league, and staff-led yoga sessions during the workday.

Staff that have hybrid vehicles have parking-garage discounts, as do carpoolers. Finally, there are incentives for using public transportation. Each month, I receive a $25 credit on my SmarTrip card, which is what is used to pay for Metro and Metro Bus. Although this only pays about 40% of my monthly work-related transportation expenses, it certainly helps. Staff also have the option to have pre-taxed portions of their salary used to subsidize their public transportation costs.

More about what’s going with sustainability at NatGeo can be found here http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/national-geographic-sustainability/

National Geographic Society’s Green Team. Photograph by Laura Wallach, National Geographic Photo Originally published: http://tinyurl.com/b9aajmq

Rethinking cities

Photograph by Reinier Gerritsen, NGM “Togetherness” New York, New York Commuters kvetch about crowded trains

I’ve learned that on most nights there is a single star in the DC sky, which I suspect is probably not a true star, but rather, a planet. I suppose that’s better than nothing at all.

I can feel this city changing me. Surrounded by people exercising their right to free speech, I’ve sensed myself becoming more outspoken and unapologetic about issues that are important to me.  I arrived with preconceived notions and assumptions about what life out here would be like.  I thought that living in DC would be “just ok.” I’ve found that I absolutely love it. I thought that museum and theater visits would be endless. What I’ve found is that, for me at least, too much of a good thing is, well, boring. But one of the biggest assumptions that has been challenged here is the way I view cities.

The December issue of NatGeo is really great, full of pull-outs and maps. It may be my favorite issue of the year. All year long, NGM has been exploring issues related to population. The last day in October this year, the world’s population reached 7 billion. NGM is exploring what challenges this astronomical population will cause us as well as potential solutions. A population boom remediation I hear people bringing up again and again is urban living.

In “The City Solution: Why cities are the best cure for our planet’s growing pains” author Robert Kunzig says “if what you value is nature, cities look like concentrated piles of damage” (NGM 12/11 p. 133). If I’m being honest, that’s what my views were when I arrived here. Admitting that is uncomfortable; I feel like some sort of wide-open-space elitist. I worry I’m stepping on “town-mouse” toes. But that’s the truth of it. Before living here, I had mixed feelings about cities. On the one hand, I saw them as glittering, fascinating places with good food and good-shopping, hubs for knowledge, fine arts, and sports; and best of all, airports to take you anywhere but there. A good place to spend the day, but certainly not so much time as a week or more! On the other hand, I thought they were constricted, hazy spaces, with too much concrete and not enough green things or common sense. Like most naive notions, that way of thinking was bratty and unfair.

Being a creature of wide open spaces, I’ve found that living in DC has been more liberating than restricting. Can I lay on the grass or go for a hike whenever I’d like? No. But there’s a nice freedom in living within walking distance of everything I could possibly need. I haven’t driven a car in three months! Anytime I have traveled in any way besides walking, I have shared resources with others to do so (rather than riding in a car solo, for example). I think, ultimately, that’s what is so wonderful about cities. You’re forced to share with others. You share your space, your transportation and your open spaces like parks. You sacrifice silence for the sake of a way of living that is, in the long run, perhaps more efficient. For a growing world that’s the goal, isn’t it? For a farm-girl from the Midwest it’s not that bad after all. I don’t think I would choose to live in a city for the rest of my life. Thankfully, I don’t think I’m called to. But… what I’ve learned is that I could. Like most things I’ve learned here in DC, it’s something I was not expecting to learn. But how fun and liberating it is to say, “I never imagined I would do this, but now I know that I can.”

NG City Links:

Check out National Geographic Traveler’s I Heart My City blog 

The City Solution photo gallery from this month’s NGM issue

Read The City Solution full article

NG Special Report “Twelve Car-Free Cities”

A city on my “To Visit” list: Curitiba, Brazil. It has 16 parks and 14 forest areas, “nearly 560 square feet of green space for every one of it’s 2 million residents —one of the highest rates in the world for cities.” That’s my kind of town! Read the NG profile here.

Curitiba, Brazil. Photograph by Ingolf Pompe 25, Alamy

A fascinating video on just how big a number seven billion is and yet how surprisingly little space we take up.

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learning for free

image courtesy WorldWildlife.org

Last week I heard that NGS headquarters would be hosting a conservation symposium sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund. And guess what? It was free to attend! Typically, knowledge forums, symposiums, and conferences like this one are pricey, even for students. But once again, DC continues to woo me, offering the gift of free learning. I attended the majority of the sessions on both days of the symposium.

The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.2 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. WWF’s unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature.  -WWF.com “Who we are” 

This year, the WWF is celebrating its 50th birthday. Like any good party, WWF’s closest friends showed up to celebrate. “Hot-shot” speakers included representatives from the following: USAID, National Science Foundation, Forest Trends, NASA, Google, The Earth Policy Institute, the Nature Conservancy, and NGS CEO John Fahey.  I’m admitting that I was a tiny bit star-struck.

At first I was concerned that the symposium would focus on animal conservation, which is valid and good and something I support, but it’s definitely not my area of learning or something I feel the need to pursue in any future career. However, the WWF reminded me that their organization goes beyond simply advocating for endangered species. As an organization, WWF is impressive in that they recognize connections. Wildlife conservation is directly connected to what we eat for dinner each night, the beauty products we choose, the way we get to work in the morning, the way we cast our vote….the connections go on and on. And so, the talks of the symposium were varied. Jonathan Foley from the University of Minnesota spoke on agricultural sustainability, giving the oversimplified formula more food + less harm = sustainable future. He spoke of dwindling water reserves and reminded us that 70% of water withdrawals are for crops. He spoke of the growing middle-class world-wide, and the increased desire for beef. “It turns out the elephant in the room is actually a cow,” he said as he outlined the reasons why beef is one of the least effective food-products on the market (high energy and caloric input to raise a cow, yet low caloric return).

Another speaker, Brett Jenks, president and CEO of Rare, a U.S.-based conservation group spoke on a topic I find increasingly fascinating — human behavior change. What makes us act the way we do, and how can we encourage habit change? Jenks believes that human behavior change is the least understood and most important aspect of conservation. “How do we boost adoption of sustainable habits?” Jenks asked. This is a question I hear over and over again when discussing sustainability in higher education at SIUC and other institutes. To approach this issue, the folks at Rare have developed “pride campaigns” which focus on encouraging communities to see the value in local resources and nature. By sharing knowledge on the conservation target, changing attitudes, removing conservation barriers (which includes a plethora of factors, such as public perception of the problem, political barriers, funding, etc.),  and reducing threats to the conservation effort, Rare sees results.

A third talk I found very interesting, and also quite practical, was given by Jeff Opperman from the Nature Conservancy. Jeff asked the question, “can hydro-power be sustainable?” Hydro-power accounts for 20% of energy worldwide, and meets 7% of the U.S.’s energy needs. “Hydro-power is the largest renewable energy source we have currently,” said Opperman, “yet it’s not really embraced by environmentalists.” Hydro-power, though powerful, often results in displaced persons and animals due to the damming of rives and the creation of artificial lakes. Opperman studies “the strategic deployment of dams,” seeking to construct dams in the most efficient way possible while protecting river ecology.

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A few weeks ago, a subspecies of Black Rhino, the Western Black Rhino, was declared extinct (for an NPR article on the subject, click here).  Black Rhino populations in Africa are critically endangered, and so in an effort to protect the few remaining and to increase their range, WWF has teamed up with wildlife managers in South Africa to airlift these massive creatures to safety. At the symposium, WWF showed the video below.  It’s an image you’d never imagine you could see, a sleeping rhinoceros flying through the air. I think it shows their fragility, otherwise overlooked in their dinosaur-like appearance. I think it also shows the direness of the situation, as these animals are air-evacuated like war refugees.

The world we live in is terribly fascinating, beautiful, and worth taking care of.

Photograph courtesy Green Renaissance WWF

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leaving fingerprints

The first time I ever made my very own map with ArcGis9.3 from start-to-finish I thought I was going to pull my hair out. Although I don’t remember shedding tears over the process,  I would not doubt that I did. I’m not a fan of cartography. I love pouring over the finished project, but map-making has always seemed too tedious, detailed, technical, analytical and, well, boring. But when I finally finished that first map and printed it out, really looked at it, I had this feeling of “Wow. I created that. This information didn’t exist on paper until now.” I wonder if that’s how artists and composers feel? I was so in awe of the fact that I had made this little medium that others could look at and learn from. I remember emailing it to my dad and artist friend Jennica, feeling like a small child holding up a piece of scribbled artwork saying, “Look what I did!!”

This week I had a similar experience. Web-pages I have been working on for about seven weeks have finally gone “live” on the NatGeoEd.com site!  I’ve been able to view the pages myself for quite some time now, but they have finally passed Quality Assessment and have been made available to the general public. The process of creating them was similar to that of map-making —at least to a novice like me! The process felt alien (I’ve never in my life created any web content), tedious, detailed, technical, analytical, and yes, boring! But now the content within them is available on the World Wide Web, freely accessible to teachers, students, and families. It’s fun to leave my fingerprints on the NatGeoEd.com website :)

The content within the pages is pulled from various existing activities and media from the Education site, but my job was to pull it together in new pages to make it more easily accessible (and searchable) to educators and families for use in the classroom or home-learning setting. I was guided on the project by my advisers in the Ed. department, and it was certainly a team effort.

Here are a couple examples of the pages:

“Camouflage”  and “Lake Turnover”

education.nationalgeographic.com

Geography Awareness Week

Happy Geography Awareness Week, folks! Ok, I realize most of you have no clue that such a thing existed. But it does! This year’s theme is “The Adventure In Your Community.” What’s the point, you ask? Well to promote Geo[graphic] Literacy in public education! You can support the festivities by “Speaking Up For Geography:” by sending a quick “letter” to your congressperson, urging them to support funding for teaching geographic thinking in public schools. Simply go here>>> http://speakupforgeography.rallycongress.com/, and click “Take Action.” It takes 60 seconds.

Across the nation this week geographers and teachers are promoting the field, college Geography Clubs are hosting bake-sales and trivia nights, and students are learning with National Geographic Education activities and maps. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we at headquarters in the Education Division are STRESSED. Intern Julia is heading up the Blog-A-Thon that is keeping her incredibly busy, as well as a staff-led map mural that is being hung in the cafeteria. Staffers decorated 8.5×11″ maps that are a part of the downloadable “mega-map” series on the education website. All of our map “tiles” will be put together to form a map of the entire world by the end of the week. One of my map tiles is below. I had a portion of Alaska and Russia and I couldn’t help putting Alaska’s most notorious citizen on it, as well as a collage of images from a 2011 NatGeo article on Alaska.

“I can see Russia from my house!”

TodayNG Education VP Dr. Danny Edelson awarded four Congresspeople “Geography Legislators of the Year” on Capitol Hill. Children from local schools were invited to the awards ceremony. The kids had a blast playing and learning with a GIANT floor map of South America. Following the ceremony, I attended a “Geography Education Briefing” panel discussion moderated by Dr. Edelson and hosted by Senator Chochran in the Dirkson Senate Building. The experience was a true gem of the internship. I want quite desperately to go into more detail of the panel and Geography Awareness Week in general but the frantic nature of the week has my work-day booked. More to come SOON. I promise. Look, here’s a sticky-note reminder on my desk for proof.

I will write a new blog, I will write a new blog, I will…

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you want me to do what? odd jobs in the Intern Cave

When I first learned that I would be interning at NatGeo, everyone around me asked the same question: “What will you be doing?”

I didn’t know how to respond. Until I arrived, I had no idea what I would be doing. Sometimes I would jokingly answer, “making copies and getting coffee.” Well, upon arriving I was glad to learn that the only person I have to fetch coffee or copies for is myself. Our supervisors put us to work here and expect us to perform like staff members. Still,  once in awhile the interns are given odd tasks that have us delighted but bewildered.

Julia gets her feet painted to be used in photo shoot.

Julia gets her feet painted to be used in photo shoot.

My third day here I was asked to “hold on to” the suitcase of the CEO of Seseme Street until he exited a meeting. My office-mate Chari was once asked to ship a handful of teeshirts to various places, including Sweden. Intern Julia was asked to act as a “foot model” for a photo shoot, which required another staffer to paint her feet blue. I couldn’t make this stuff up.

Our favorite odd-task to date was carving pumpkins for a photo-shoot promoting the Big Cats Initiative. So for an entire afternoon we were scooping out seeds and swapping knives to carve profiles of lions and tigers into pumpkins using NatGeo distributed stencils. It was a messy day for sure. [Want to make your own Big Cat Jack-o-Lantern? Go here.]

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This week we had a similar “odd job.” On Thursday we were asked to hand-deliver special-edition copies of National Geographic to Senators and House Representatives on Capitol Hill. The intent of the deliveries was to alert the Congressmen of Earth’s new population mark this Monday, when the UN predicts the seven billionth baby will be born. The magazines included population-focused articles from NG in 2011.

I’ve toured the Capitol building but this was my first time entering the congressional offices. The experience was both intimidating and surprising anti-climatic. I expected the entire experience to be more of a “hullabaloo” than it was. After spending about ten minutes in the office corridors you realize that the people around you are either 1. Young interns like me or 2. Government employees who, as my boyfriend Steven reminded me, “work for you, so there’s no need to impress them.” When I looked at it from that point of view, the job was easy and fun and adventurous, instead of stressful, tedious, and uptight.

It was amusing to see how interns, staffers, and even the Congressmen themselves perked up a bit when I mentioned I was dropping off a special edition magazine designed just for them by Editor-in-Chief Chris Johns. It was also interesting to see how each Congressperson decorated their office, or the general “mood” of the office. A California Rep. had house-plants and Ansel Adams posters, several other Reps. were handing out “treats” from their home state… Texas and Virginia both had peanuts.

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Quirky Geography: Typographic Maps

I’m geeking out over this new find. It’s a combination of two of my favorite things, words and maps. Check it out, typographic maps. They are maps made out of words. What a fun idea. The organization I stumbled upon is called Axis Maps. you can read about how they got started here.  Below are images of fun maps of Washington, D.C. Don’t see your city on their website? Contact Axis Maps to convince them to map your city. If you know a map lover or someone with a lot of home-town city pride, these could be a fun and unique holiday gift.

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The Geography Of: Soccer

You’ve got to love a job that allows you to take midday-movie breaks, which is exactly what I did today.

On Tuesdays at noon short films are showed in the Grosvenor Auditorium here at NGS for staff and any DC folk who happen to wander in. Today was an hour long film called “Soccer City,” filmed in Alexandra, a township in South Africa’s capital city of Johannesburg. A town-ship is, largely, a slum, although it functions differently than you may think. There are functioning streets in townships (as well as unnamed alleys), electricity, public water pumps, development groups, grocery stores, produce stands, etc. Sewage systems and waste receptacles are varied or nonexistent. Alexandra, nick-named Alex, has a 75% unemployment rate, although many citizens are self-employed by “hawking” items or selling wood, clothing, and food. Like another township in Johannesburg, Soweto (SOuth WEst TOwnship), Alex historically has a reputation for crime and restlessness, driven by hunger and unemployment. This is what is known of Alex, what serves as a common warning to those living or traveling outside of the township. This is how it is perceived. Through this documentary however, filmmaker Nick Fitzhugh seeks to show another, wholly accurate side of Alex, which is a football loving core.

I’ve loved soccer since I was in middle-school, and although I’m barely decent at best, I try not to turn down an opportunity to play. Pick-up games are my favorite; those unofficial matches that take place with two, three, seven on a team, using trees or sweatshirts on the ground to symbolize goals. Geographically, soccer seems as universal as the love for a good meal. Unfortunately here in the U.S. it’s hard to grasp that. As the National Geographic Television staffer who intro’d the film said, “Picture The Superbowl and The World Series combined…the World Cup is bigger than that.” It’s the world’s cheapest sport as well, making it accessible nearly everywhere. Only one piece of equipment is needed, and even that can be fabricated by a home-made “ball” of wrapped up plastic bags (I’ve seen it done).

Through traveling around I’ve jumped into casual pick-up games all over the place with young people from all different kinds of backgrounds and nationalities, once even with some children on a street in Alex, South Africa. Back home at SIU, I once had the privilege to play on a recreational league with a team of international students from Saudi Arabia. I’m ashamed to admit I was nervous about being on their team.  In the beginning it’s hard to say what was more intimidating to me, our cultural differences or how great of players they were. I was the first female to join and I was hesitant about being the only girl. What’s more, men and women do not play together in Saudi Arabia. Female sports are a fairly new phenomena there, and are never played in the presence of males. I was relieved and humbled to learn that the guys on that team not only welcomed my presence, they encouraged it, setting up goals for me, being painfully patient with my fumbles, and coaching me gently. The lesson learned was a valuable one, and the experience was more than just about sports or a game, it became a cultural interaction, as soccer so often does.

The culture of youth in Alex is soccer. More than that, it’s a way of life. It’s an escape from the day-to-day stresses of living in poverty, from drugs, from crime, and for a select few, it can mean an “escape” from the township or even the country its self. Youth play all day everyday in Alex. In the street, in parking lots, on a dirt or grass pitch. There are sanctioned and unofficial teams. There is a male and female league. The guys there play in a style called “unofficial”, and the cramped quarters and at times uneven or rocky terrain forces one to focus on ball control; dribbling, short passes, defense, quick footwork. Things that suburban players playing on a grass-pitch know less of.

Several Alex youth have gone on to play semi-professionally or professionally for the South African national team [this is a big deal. Think of a youth in the poorest community in the U.S. going on to play in the NFL or NBA. In South Africa, the jump is even larger]. In fact, one national player in the documentary goes back to Alex from time to time, “which he probably shouldn’t do,” explains his coach, simply to challenge himself and stay on form because the guys who play there are that good. Can you imagine a pro basketball player going back to the Bronx to shoot some hoops simply to challenge himself by the guys playing there?

The documentary was excellent. It was unpolished, dark at times, a bit raw; just like Alex. I spent the day in Alex a couple years ago so it was neat to see the township represented as a whole. By telling the story of youth playing in Alex as well as former professionals, the director did a great job of showing what soccer means not only to Alex, but to South Africa as a country, and even to the world.  He reminds us how monumental it was for an African nation to host the 2010 World Cup (which took place during filming), especially a country like South Africa, which continues to emerge from it’s socially and politically tumultuous past as a symbol of hope and leadership for the continent. If you’re interested in seeing the movie, check out the website for the film, find the film on iTunes, or catch it on ESPN Classic.

Nancy from “Soccer City.” Photo by Pete Muller, courtesy soccer-city.tv. Click photo for original source.

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