Assalamu-alaikum readers,

Ali and Amir locked in a tense soccer match

We apologize for the delay in posting this re-cap but our volunteers needed a couple of days to recover from an epic event on Saturday evening. The first order of business was our first-ever youth FIFA Tournament. The tournament was supposed to start at 7:00 PM but our excitable bunch of young lads showed up much earlier. For those who may not be familiar, FIFA is a popular soccer video game played by youth and adults alike in many countries around the world. Though versions are available for different gaming systems, our group went with the ever-popular XBox gaming system for our tournament.

The tournament was set-up as follows:

  • Each person would get to select a team to compete with for the entire tournament, Youth could choose either a club team (like Barcelona or Real Madrid) or an international team (such as the USA or Brazil).
  • The tournament was a double-elimination tournament. This meant that everyone started in the Winners Bracket. If an individual lost a game, he would be relegated to the Losers Bracket. If the individual lost a game in the Losers Bracket, he would be eliminated from the tournament.
  • Each game consisted of two 4-minute halves. If the score remained tied after two halves, the game went to a penalty shootout.

Ali and Amr Kais effortlessly mowed down the competition in the Winners Bracket. Hazem K and Mohamed Elmahdi made

Amine caught red-handed with a piece from the disassembled playground set

quick work of the remaining competitors in the Losers Bracket. As more and more guys started getting eliminated from the tournament, their attention turned towards other things to keep themselves occupied. As the volunteers stepped out of the room briefly, we returned to find a great surprise. The large indoor playground set in the multipurpose room had been completely disassembled.  However, under our careful supervision, three of the youth quickly re-assembled the playground set.

After 8 rounds and 19 games, we finally arrived at the championship match. The championship game came down to a one-on-one duel between Amr and his brother Ali. After an entertaining match which featured goal after amazing goal, Amr emerged as the champion of the FIFA Tournament.

Mahmud provided many fun, light-hearted moments throughout the night

After Isha prayer, we focused on the second part of the night program – itikha’f. Youth had an opportunity to pray tahajjud (extra voluntary night prayers) together. In addition to this, our youth took part in a bonding activity entitled “Best/Worst.” In this activity, youth formed a circle. Each person had to choose a folded piece of paper from one of the volunteers. Inside the folded paper, either the word “Best” or “Worst” was written. Depending on which option the person received, he would be asked a question by the volunteer. Questions ranged from “what is the best memory you have of Ramadan” to “”what is your worst memory from school?” It was interesting to listen to the variety of responses provided by each individual during the activity.

Some youth were initially opposed to the idea of extra prayers

However the opposition was short-lived

Once the “Best/Worst” bonding activity was completed, we enjoyed a quick snack (pizza) before getting ready for bed. Before we could rest, the youth insisted on playing the famous “sock game.” In the sock game, the object of the game is to remove a sock off every competitor’s foot before the sock is removed from your foot.

Yay, look at my (borrowed) sock!

In the first game, all the guys decided to gang up on the veteran, Yacoub; this proved to be a really bad idea.

Youth gang up on Yacoub but he is too strong for their attacks

Methodically, Yacoub removed each young person’s sock.

The victims of Yacoub...he would not be stopped in this game

Murtaza hides in the only safe part of the room...a giant sleeping bag

As the game started to wind down, only one young man stood between Yacoub and an improbable victory. As the two guys faced off, Yacoub used his combination of size and experience to pull out the win.

The final opponent; with this sock Yacoub won the game

After a few more rounds of the sock game, the youth mercifully went to sleep. We woke up for Fajr prayer the following morning and then departed from the masjid.