I have been coaching the cross country team at Brian's school - the International School Hannover Region (ISHR) since the end of August.
When I say team and coaching, it means something a little different than in the U.S. We practice two days per week and the season lasts just five weeks. At the end there is one meet against other international schools from around Germany. It's not just that way for cross country - even though soccer is a popular sport at the school, soccer teams only have one practice a week and go to about 4 tournaments, though their season lasts longer.
German schools don't have sports teams at all. Any kids who are into athletics join a club and play there. That makes it hard for sports at ISHR to grow much - they would need to have more parents who believe that kids should play sports at school.
The cross country team is technically for 5th - 12th grade but all of the kids that we took to the meet are 5th - 8th graders. We met up at 7am and got on a train to Berlin Spandau station (yes, like the 80s band Spandau Ballet). The Berlin British School hosted on their fantastic woodsy campus that looks more like a fancy summer camp than a school. We competed against the 3 Berlin area schools, plus international schools from Dresden, Frankfurt, Bavaria, Stuttgart and a couple of others. All the other teams besides Hannover and the local schools came in the night before. The kids stay overnight with families of athletes of the host team. They usually go in pairs or groups, and the coaches stay in hotels. There are a ton of logistics about transportation and lodging and food... a lot of work to plan.
Anyway, our kids did pretty well. The under 14 girls (6th-8th grade) took 2nd place even though we were 1 runner short of having a full team. We had 2 5th place 5th graders as well. We got back home around 6pm, and the kids were really excited because Spandau station has a Dunkin Donuts. They stocked up and came home tired, sweaty, and full of sugar.
- Thanks for coming to my blog. It started as a way to keep in touch with family and friends, and now has become an ongoing project. I'm an American living in Germany and trying to travel whenever I can. I write about my experiences as an expatriate (the interesting ones and the embarrassing ones), and about my travels. There are some recurring characters in this blog, particularly my husband Brian and several of our friends. The title comes from the idea that living in a foreign country means making a lot of mistakes. So the things you used to do easily you now have to try over and over again. Hopefully, like me, you can laugh at how idiotic it feels. If you have happened upon my blog, then welcome. Knowing that people are reading what I write makes me keep going. Feel free to write comments or suggestions for future posts.