The physical education teacher for the third and fourth graders at Katya's school is a woman who was once on the Russian Women's National Soccer Team, an extremely enthusiastic lover of the sport! The kids often play soccer during recess and Katya eagerly anticipated the chance to learn from her this fall.
I mentioned this to the teacher at the beginning of the year, and she told me that she dreams of starting a girls' team that would play a few afternoons a week. Because of her connections, the girls would even get a chance to play in a national stadium a few times, just for fun. Given the plethora of after-school activities, most kids are around to be able to participate. Yay! I thought it would be a given that enough girls would sign up to get the team going.
I have been so surprised to learn that soccer isn't considered an appropriate sport for girls by most parents here; it's okay for kids to play during gym class, but being on an actual team is an entirely different proposition... The other most enthusiastic sporty girl in Katya's class wanted to join, but she just broke her leg...
There just aren't enough girls to get it off the ground--YET. I'm not giving up. I've been trying to talk to parents about it. Most just politely smile, by now used to my American "cluelessness" at times, I guess...
(I could have signed the girls up the American Youth Soccer League in Moscow, but it meets first thing on Saturday mornings FAR AWAY from where we live--and I don't have the stamina to pull it off.)
I just don't get it. These parents grew up under Communism, when sports were almost a religion, and girls were encouraged to be as athletic as boys! Maybe that was simply the perception, though? Just as people kept their religion to themselves, perhaps they kept their beliefs about girls' and boy's roles private, too?