The following story is about playing soccer in the the middle of the streets of Tehran. The original text was written in Persian for a high school composition class in 1971 in Iran. Amjadieh is the name of the oldest football stadium in the heart of Tehran. It is no longer in active use because most soccer games are now held in the 100,000-seat Azadi (Liberty) Stadium. Here's part 3:
By now, the new superintendent Mr. Tabrizi had become an established figure in our school. The football game had turned into a nightmare for us; we had to find a way to resume our games. Until one particular day, one of the players came to school with a huge grin on his face and eyes that indicated possible mischief. He bore great news. He had located a quiet street suitable for our football games. The street was situated only a block away from school and directly behind Amjadieh Stadium. The street happened to be adjacent to football field number 2 in Amjadieh.
We promptly inspected the street at lunch time. The description was indeed correct. The street was wide, although it sloped to the south. The slope was not steep enough to affect the game though. In exchange, we were rewarded with a much softer and smoother asphalt. The coarse surface of the school yard would not be missed. Our potential football field presented us with one major problem.
Very deep cement canals had been built on each side of the sidewalk. If the ball fell into the canal, the game had to be stopped. For this reason, it was unanimously decided to consider the canal as an off-field area. Fortunately, it seemed that the canal would not be filled with water. Its sole function was to provide a reservoir for possible spring showers.
A few residential units were on one end of the sidewalk. It seemed that most of them were vacant during the lunch hours. We were not able to see cars parked in front of these units. The wonderful red brick wall of the stadium towered at the other side of the street. This meant that the ball would be prevented from falling into the Stadium platforms, built for the spectators.
Our concern was to find a solution for the goal posts. The solution seemed simple enough. A couple of bricks could be placed on top of each other. In fact, this turned out to be a better field than our previous one at school. We could now employ real large goals, and because of the width of the street, more players could participate. Our field was ready. We just needed to agree on a specific time for our daily games.
We decided that early mornings were no longer suitable. Rousing the neighbors from their enjoyable deep slumber was definitely asking for trouble. The perfect time was lunch time, between the hours of 12 to 1. Another game could be scheduled for the after-school hours.
A few weeks later we adapted so easily to the new field that if ever asked to play in the awkwardly square shaped school yard, we would consider it as an affront.
Our games were held daily at noon and in the afternoon behind Amjadieh. The games had taken another dimension since those early morning games in the beginning of the school year. These games were now extended into a full-fledged football league, with every class represented by a team. Several classes such as my own ninth grade, had more than one team represented. We had an abundance of skillful and talented players and all eager to play. Each day practically marked the formation of a yet newer team. It was a rewarding experience to witness this growth.
We usually enjoyed an added bonus, when our teachers did not show up for the afternoon classes, and we were released earlier than our usual time. This translated into three hours of non-stop football. We had established an added incentive to our games, namely playing for rewards and trophies.
The name "Behind Amjadieh” was mentioned in every circle, spread out like a commodity name throughout the school. We were so busy basking in our glory, we forgot the news might reach our beloved superintendent, Mr. Tabrizi, one of these days as well…
>>> Part 1