Al-Shabaab: Our basketball team in Saudi

Well, we finally went out and picked out jerseys, so I’d say the team is official now. It’s not a real league. It’s just a tournament that lasts a few months. But we have enough guys to play, and we got McGill to sponsor us.

The jerseys are going to look pretty sweet. They’re black with green, green for Saudi. They’ll have our last names on the back with numbers, and a patch on the front with two swords and, I think, a palm tree. Pretty sure none of the other teams are going to be rocking a patch like that!

Our team will also be the only one with an Arabic name embroidered on the front of the jerseys. The other teams have English names, like the Raptors or whatever. But ours is better.

One guy on our team suggested we call ourselves the Imports. That’s actually a really great name, I think. But it’s kind of serious and classy. Our team is anything but serious and classy.

Instead, someone else suggested Al-Shabaab. It means “the guys” or “the youth,” something like that. Like our students might say, “Shabaab… yalla,” meaning, “Man, come on,” or, “Let’s go, dude.” That’s perfect for us.

But it gets better. Al-Shabaab is also a terrorist group, the Somali branch of Al-Qaeda. The U.S. has bounties out for information about their members. The group supposedly has a bunch of foreigners in it too.

So here we are, this raggedy bunch of irreverent, English teachers, about to play basketball sporting green uniforms with an adopted name like Al-Shabaab. This is going to be fun.

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