Hey there sports fans! Here's what's been going on sports-wise in the "McArdle Does Korea" experience:
1. I went ice skating with the middle schoolers from Seomna Center. For hours we skated in circles, and it was fun to see the progress that some of the students made in that time, some of whom had never skated before. While we were skating recreationally, other skaters were practicing, pretty seriously, either speed skating or figure skating. It's obvious that skating is very popular here.
2. I joined a gym! It's pretty lousy compared to high-tech American gyms, but I enjoy it. They provide smelly outfits for us to wear while working out, and I am DEFINITELY the sweatiest person in the gym.
That yellow banner on the 3rd floor says Hannam Health, my gym!
3. A great professor at Hannam University lent us a bike! Traffic makes biking on the streets rather life-endangering, but there are some great bike paths along the multiple rivers in town that are a treat to be on during the nice-ish weather we've been having.
4. The BLUE FANGS!!! This is the professional (men's) volleyball team for Daejeon, and they are pretty good! I have been to two of their games, and they are super entertaining! The games are interesting in and of themselves, but the crowd is simply astonishing. They are the best fans you can dream of. Every single point, win or lose, gets a song and clapping accompaniment. There are choreographed cheers. The official cheering section has super dances.
The newest Blue Fans fan.
The official cheering section.
Team introductions. (By the way, in Korean, "Fangs" is pronounced "Pongs."
5. I am still playing soccer every week with the kids at Seomna Center. Most of the time they make me play goalie, but it's still fun to get out there and run around for a little bit. To call it "soccer" is a bit of a stretch, but still. They have to start somewhere. We also play a LOT of "ping-pong."
6. I I bought some new running shoes, but my old running shoes were filthy. Luckily there is a thing here called a shoe laundry mat! I dropped off my horrible, stinky shoes, and picked them up the next day. They looked brand-spanking-new and even smelled fresh! For under $3. This is something that should definitely be imported to the States.
You would never believe I trained for and ran a half-marathon in these babies a year ago.
7. My friend Sue showed me her golf driving range. Golf, like ice skating, is very popular. Golf courses themselves cost hundreds of dollars to play a round, but there are these fun golf driving ranges dotted around the urban landscape like giant green cages. The shortest amount of time that you can purchase is an hour, and there are automatic tees that conveniently load the balls for you!
8. Every Monday I am still doing Taekwondo. Still a white belt. Still the dunce of the class. Still several feet taller than my classmates. Still a blast!!
9. The Khims, Sue, Katie and I went out for an outing at the ballpark! We watched the Daejeon Hanhwa Eagles take on the Busan Lotte Giants on a beautiful day for baseball. The stadium and game were much like you would find in the States, but the refreshments were an entirely different story. EVERYBODY (literally) gets a box of (spicy!) fried chicken to eat at the game--this is so important that half of the stadium has tables in front of the seats. Also sold in the concession stand: roasted silk worm larvae, cup ramen, beer, Pringles, and caramel corn.
Kai-Li showing off her fried chicken.
Me at the ballgame in (Kai-Li's) Eagles hat.
Our motley crew. While the stands are empty now, they definitely filled up throughout the game.