The Dalai Lama Cup

Ugyen Gyalpo

Ugyen Gyalpo

By Ugyen Gyalpo

NEW YORK, US, 16 August 2017

Having been a soccer fanatic all my life, I have never felt so much emotional connection as when the finalists of the Dalai Lama Cup 2017 came on the ground, with tiny hands escorting them and that familiar FIFA symphony playing in the background, as the triumphant players walked gracefully flanked by fluttering Tibetan and TYC flags, while the emphatic new emcee’s stellar bold voice announced the team as would an anchor to boxer in a boxing ring. It was a feast to watch, when the best footballers of North America descended into this gorgeous field, compared to the unpaved field that I grew up playing in, lying before the backdrop of a side of a picturesque Manhattan skyline. A picture perfect day it was, blue sky except for few puffy clouds, yet many had to seek cover from the rather bearable heat and we hid behind that giant light pole, moving along where the shadow of the pole moved all day, lying on the luscious meadow, that wrapped the field slanting upwards, giving it a stadium-like feel but without the seats, but lush carpet of meadows where one could lie and roll.

The commentary in Tibetan of a live soccer game was fun to listen to, and our colloquial language not living up to the pace and tempo of the game, at certain times sounded hilarious and at some points suggestive too. The game though was interrupted once in a while by wayward children, walking aimlessly like playful calves only to end up in the field, at times when the game was in full swing and also perhaps at times when their parents were either too lost in the game or too comfortable having kids roam carefree amongst the vicinity of their own community. I wasn’t surprised as most of us wouldn’t either, since we Tibetans have a knack to let our kids roam like that on any given day, wherever there is a Tibetan community event. And how often have we seen and found kids irritatingly and hilariously for the comfort of the parents, climb up on the stage, and this event was no different. Totally lived up to the expectation! And, that’s what makes us different… right ?

The half-time show was unexpectedly great, and the likes of Tenzin Dolma, and, bigger than life, our own Yeshi Khando, emcee cum everything, blazed the speaker with some favourite songs. That Rangzen song that she nailed, still reverberates into my faint ear drums replaying by itself.

What followed the concert was like a show that you usually see at the World Cup finals, the traditional, the trendy nomadic circle dance, where folks of all ages, mostly young buds, it was a feast to watch, dance with unison and display that lost utopian happiness embedded beneath decades of suppressed sadness and to add to the whole acme, like a chef would do to a final dish with a pinch of that bam spice, people danced to the most lovely song of the year or perhaps forever, Phur-ring their way towards the rather certain outcome of the game, but flying at the tune of Phur on uncertain, uncharted future of our lost country, a fading cause that needs combustion to keep the ignition running. Everything being different but just the ancestry that remained the only thing constant, brought us together to this island, sandwich between queens and Manhattan for this beautiful game.

The organizer, which was the TYC, I must testify did an exemplary job in organizing such an event, which is a feat in itself. From the formation of the tournaments charts that were fed live on social media to the introduction of the team, culminating in this much-anticipated event, that was executed not just professionally but with cool creativity too.

I extend my heartiest congratulations to the TYCNYNJ in organizing this two-day event that brought us together, and I must add that the trophy was simply beautiful and worthy of the name. The lotus, the three folded hand and the globe that sculpted this ware for reasons they stood for, was both thoughtful and sanguine.

I hope that this tournament will forever carry on, and new future executive members that would step in, will carry this as their priority and make this tournament ever greater and most importantly free of politics, that has infected and divided many in the past and as a result, sadly tournaments such as this that took birth only two days ago, wouldn’t have been the first one, given the amount of years we have been in this city and our players starving for such a tournament and a chance, that will inspire many new players and teams to form for the next year and years to come. It is only befitting to say that through sports, such as this, nation-building can be done and patriotism fervor could be sowed early on. More positive vestibules to walk on will foster constructive growth in our youth, and one avenue to that growth is through successful tournaments such as this. Thank you TYC.


About the author

Ugyen Gyalpo lives in Woodside, New York, and works as an insurance agent for United Health Group, New York.

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