Assalamu-alaikum readers!

Yesterday evening, we once again gathered for another fun-tastic (yes, I just made up a new word) youth group activity. A few of the brothers showed up an hour early for the event and began running around playing a new version of tag called “taser.” I remember as a young lad how simple our childhood games used to be – tag, hide-and-seek, duck-duck-goose, and so on. Today’s youth have come up with some interesting new concoctions for games such as the aforementioned “taser”  game.

Yesterday’s activity was to be determined by a vote by the youth. 11 youth showed up for the evening’s festivities. The two options for the evening’s activity:

1.) Capture the Flag

2.) Kickball

The voting ended up in a tie since one vote had to be thrown out (the voter was coerced by his older brother which is a no-no).  Salah and Haroon decided to come up with a compromise for the youth: we would play one game of Kickball and then switch to Capture the Flag. After the decision was made, we walked to the valley of competition known as the Intramural Fields.

Kickball is a classy, traditional game played in many elementary and middle school playgrounds. There are two teams. Each team gets a chance to be on offense while the opposing team plays defense in the field. The object of the game is to be the team that scores the most runs (like in baseball or cricket). Team members on offense take turns kicking a round, bouncy ball called a “kickball.” After kicking the ball, the offensive player has to run around 4 bases. If the player is able to successfully touch all 4 bases before getting tagged out (with the ball), he/she earns the team a run.

In the first (and only) game of Kickball for the day, Mujtaba and Murtaza led their team to a heart-pounding 2-1 victory. Since several of the younger youth had trouble catching and kicking the kickball, we decided to switch to Capture the Flag.

The poor, lonely kickball sits silently on the playing field. Where have all the children gone, it asks?

We managed to play two complete games of Capture the Flag before we had to head back to the masjid for Maghrib

Teams getting organized for round 1 of Capture the Flag

prayer. In Capture the Flag, the object of the game is to grab the other team’s flag and bring it back to your team’s zone before getting tagged out by a member of the opposing team. If you get tagged out, you must go to a designated area called jail. The only way to get out of jail is to be rescued by a member of your team (they have to give you a high-five before they get tagged out). The flag for our game was a light-weigh, yet durable tennis ball. The tennis ball allowed the youth to throw the flag to another teammate before they were tagged out. In game one, Mujtaba, Ali K, and Amr played huge roles in helping lead their team to a 3-1 victory.

 

 

Ali K captures the flag but where to go next with the crowd of youth ready to pounce?

 

Why not throw the flag to his brother Amr for the first points of the game!

 

Salah has seen enough and decides to step in and lead his troop of youth to victory

 

During the first game, Salah quietly read a journal article for work while keeping an observant eye on the youth. However, after seeing the older youth pounce on the weaknesses of the younger youth, he had seen enough. Casting aside his article and rolling up his sleeves (on second thought he was wearing a half-sleeve shirt so this wouldn’t be possible), Salah teamed up with the younger youth for game 2. Would Salah’s presence help lead team no-bandanna to victory or would the pangs of defeat once again grip the younger youth? Read on to find out!

 

 

In the early stages of game 2, Salah was not able to make a positive impact for his team. Team Bandanna (a.k.a the older youth) quickly jumped out to a 1-0 lead.

As Salah's team gets distracted, Mujtaba makes a beeline straight for the flag

 

Ali K concentrates on catching the flag thrown by Mujtaba...AND HE CATCHES THE BALL! 1-0 lead for Team Bandanna

Things quickly turned from bad to worse for team no-bandanna as the older youth quickly grabbed a commanding 2-0 lead in game 2.

Amine takes a risk and tries to make a brave run for the flag for team no-bandanna.

 

Unfortunately for Amine he found himself in jail

Seeing enough, Salah (and several of his teammates) decided on a new strategy for the game: get rid of their shoes and go barefoot! Hoping to take advantage of all 5 human senses and without the restrictions of the rubber soles of their shoes, team no-bandanna hoped the new strategy would turn the momentum of game 2 back in their favor.

Somewhere along the way shoes started coming off

The initial feeling of goodwill brought on by the no-shoes strategy quickly led to team no-bandanna capturing the flag (and earning their team a point). The score for game 2: 2-1 in favor of Team Bandanna.

Mujtaba points out an attacker...look it's Muhammad Aly!

Muhammad Aly gets the flag and throws it towards a teammate

Before our eyes, an intense comeback was made official with an improbable run through the defense by Amine. He grabbed the flag and threw it to a teammate before getting tagged out. His effort led to his team earning a second point to tie the second game up at 2.

Amine grabs the flag which would earn team no-bandanna its second point in game 2

As the sun set in the distance and the bugs began to bite more ferociously, team bandanna faced off against team no-bandanna for the all-important third point.

Amr teasing Omar

As the whistle blew to start the pursuit for the third point, the game became intense. Players were getting tagged out and sent to jail. Other teammates rushed to rescue their fellow teammates from jail. Total chaos seemed imminent.

Murtaza shimmies past defenders to grab the flag...unfortunately his attempt would produce no fruit

 

Mohamed E rescues Ali K from jail

Amongst all the noise in the background, one young man stepped up in the face of so many obstacles. Seeing an opportunity, he ran past defenders and safely entered the box containing the other team’s flag. Sweat trickled down from his face as he weighed all of his options. Could he make it through the defense one last time and reach his team’s zone safely before getting tagged? Should he instead throw the ball to a teammate?

As members of the opposing team looked on in horror, the young man grabbed the flag and in one motion, mustering up all of his strength, he threw the flag towards a teammate.  As the ball hung in the air, for what seemed like an eternity, and fell towards the ground, all eyes were locked on the aerial flight path of the flag. In one quick moment in time, the teammate caught the ball, earning his team the all-important third point.

Who was this young lad who emerged as the hero of game 2? It was none other than Amine Bouftas. After capturing the flag, he threw the ball to Captain Salah Issa who caught the ball to end the game. With that catch, team no-bandanna completed what seemed like an impossible comeback to win game 2.

The hero of game 2, Amine, tosses the flag. This would be the winning point in game 2

The top athlete and sportsman for yesterday’s game was able to lead his team to victory both in Kickball and in one of the games for Capture the Flag. He played a role in his team scoring two runs in Kickball. He also managed to capture the flag 3 times for his team in Capture the Flag. What is the name of this young athlete you ask? He is Mujtaba Siddiqui.

Congratulations to all of the participants of yesterday’s activity. In shaa Allah we’ll see all of you on Friday evening for our next event – Islamic Jeopardy!

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