Here’s something I didn’t know about Afghans: They’re crazy good volleyball players. Jake’s been playing volleyball almost every night after work at the base where he is stationed — comprised of soldiers from all over the world: Britian, America, Bulgaria, Afghanistan — and he said the Afghans clean up every time. Above, my ruthlessly competitive husband goes up for a spike. (As you might imagine, games in a war zone are ultra testosterone-driven and competitive. Casual players stay in their tent.)
This is Jake’s Afghan interpreter, Sahim, a star on the court.
The confederation of teams have been staging tournaments every month or so, played according to international rules, which Jake said are a bit different from American rules.
For the second time, Jake’s team got to the finals but lost two games out of three to the Afghans. Sahim was on the winning team. He told Jake that after the tournament the Afghans retired to their camp and staged a big victory dance; it was a huge deal for them.
I was under the impression volleyball was a Western game. I’m curious to know where Afghans developed such exceptional prowess on the court. Does the game have Asian roots? Did Afghans pick it up from generations of invaders? Did the Russians teach it to them? The Brits? Anyone know?