Pakistani “Plays” Her First Football Game
Exchange student from Pakistan posing with teacher in Arkansas high school band uniform at American football game

"Shiny black shoes" & Friday night lights

My first football game was very exciting because it was at an American high school. I can still feel what it was like to step on the football field wearing my maroon and black uniform and shiny black shoes, with my polished silver flute in my sweaty hands. I was attending my first ever football game—not just as an audience but also as a flutist for the high school band.

I have played the flute for 12 years in Pakistan, in my school and community band. But holding an American flute which is held and played horizontally was a whole new experience. It was a bit hard at first to adapt to the new version of the same instrument, but I was dedicated to learning it.

This band has a special place in my heart, as I made my first friends there.

This band has a special place in my heart, as I made my first friends there, who helped me every step of the way. Not just in band matters, but they taught me about football and its rules, as it was a whole new game to me. I told my friends that American soccer is football in Pakistan, and they were shocked.

I felt proud of myself when I put on my band uniform, and I felt grateful that my school gave me an amazing opportunity to cherish. After my first performance, I was all sweaty because of my nervousness, but the compliments and motivating words of my teacher and my band made everything feel better. It was a beautiful day filled with love and happiness—and victory. Our football team won the game!

—Eshal (YES, Pakistan), hosted by the Faulkner family (AR)