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An Effort to Return to Normality in Ukraine

July 28, 2022

Eric Choi

Most recently, Reuters reported about Ukrainian children who have started playing soccer again in a bombed-out stadium outside Kyiv in Ukraine, a much-needed distraction after more than four months of the war.

I enjoyed the report as the article could tell us who are living far remote from Ukgrain how the people in Ukraine are making efforts to keep their life as normal and peaceful as possible even in the middle of the current crisis.

I was also impressed by the interview with a coach at the Champion Stadium which was heavily damaged in the weeks that followed Russia’s invasion when Russian forces reached the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital and occupied parts of the city of Irpin.

The stadium’s walls are still pockmarked with bullet holes, but much of the shrapnel has been cleared away and holes in the pitch from mortar bombs have been plugged.

Danylo Kysil, a coach at the stadium and director of the Olymp Irpin team, shared his own experience of how he took part in the clean-up.

“When we saw the stadium with the first people who came after the liberation, it was very grim. There was shrapnel and rubbish everywhere,” Kysil told the reporter after leading a group of around a dozen boys in soccer drills.

Asked how he felt when he welcomed the children back to training, Kysil said: “I needed to show everything was fine on the outside so that the kids wouldn’t feel my emotional exhaustion.”

Ten or Eleven-year Ukrainian boys have told the reporter that they are relieved to be back on the pitch and that they are enjoying being back among friends and having the chance to work on their soccer skills.

All the readers reading this article are wishing Ukrainian people including these boys and coaches the best of luck and safety!

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