Semi-Pro Sports on Ambergris Caye: The San Pedro Pirates and Our Tiger Sharks

When I moved to Belize, I had no doubt in my mind that it would absolutely work for me.  Warm weather!  Icy beers!  Very friendly San Pedranos who speak my language (my only language, English!)  I’d made friends on my previous visits.  Sand and sea and delicious rice & beans.  How can this not be a perfect fit?

Once you make the move and unpack your bags, a transition period begins.  At first, it’s exactly like when you vacationed here.  Everything is new, sparkly sun-shiny awesomeness.

But slowly Belize becomes your “real life” – it can take months or years.   And it’s not a bad thing…it is what it is.   (I think it happened for me after a few months of having a full time bar managing job – so about 1 year into my full time residency.)  You need to shop for groceries, you need to stand in line at the bank and the electric company and probably the town council, you see the season when golf carts and tourists pack the island and the season when it’s HOT and/or rainy and you feel like you know every single person that lives here.  Your golf cart breaks…and then breaks down again.  You realize that drinking icy beers every single day isn’t a great idea (or perhaps you don’t).

Maybe you don’t want to go to the pool every day…or you are spending too much time at the bar.  It’s when I hear some transplants say that they miss wider shopping choices, movie theaters or going to the theater or baseball games or lots of organized activities for their kids.

I get it.  But you are in a different country and things are…different from what you are used to.

The mega-plex movie theater with popcorn and candy (family of 4 probably about $90usd) is replaced by free movie night over the water at the Truck Stop.  The mall experience?  You might need to give that up all together.

But let me add two things to your list.  Semi-professional basketball and semi-professional football/soccer.

Yes…4 or 5 paragraphs of build-up to get to that.

Here’s some more info:

The basketball season is just starting out and we are in the midst of football season.

Sunday I attended my first match of the year.  AND my first match at our relatively new football stadium.

The stadium was completed less than a year ago and cost about $4 million dollars.  Driving to this area south of town, headed down bumpy sand/dirt roads, it is SHOCKING to come upon this new project.

I felt a bit like I was entering the Emerald City.  Especially on this sandbar island.

$10bzd and you are in.

The field is the real deal.

The San Pedro Pirates were taking on the 1st place Belmopan Bandits.   The Bandits scored quickly and it was 2-0 after about 15 minutes.

But after the half time, our Pirates warmed up…and then were ON FIRE.  Scoring 3 goals in a row as the game ended.

I’m not one for soccer but it got EXCITING.  And when it’s not, there’s lots going on.  Great great people watching.  Kids, groupies, super fans, a DJ, food and drinks…good good times.

My favorite part was this gentleman with an old fashioned noise maker.

I’m DEFINITELY getting a t-shirt (aka, one COOL souvenir.)  $25bzd at the gate.

The next match is this Sunday!  March 18th, 3pm at the Stadium where we take on the Placencia Assassins.

For more information on scheduling and standings and the team – check out the San Pedro Pirates facebook page.

Let’s shift to basketball – the National Elite Basketball League of Belize.  Our team is the first place San Pedro Tiger Sharks.

These games are Saturday nights and played at the San Pedro High School Court.  They are SOOO high energy and emotional.  Really really fun to watch.

We are already about half way thru the season.  The All-Star game is in Orange Walk town on March 24th.

The next home game is against the ‘Griga Dream Ballers (BEST NAME!) on April 6th at 9pm.

Let me close it with my FAVORITE song.  Tiger Shaaaaaks!

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