Dainzin Norbu has been a little busy during the past twenty days. As a mountaineer, his main job is climbing the high altitude, snowy mountains of Southwest China’s Tibet, but the 29-year-old Tibetan can also be seen on the football pitch. This is a more frequent occurrence as of late, with the Chinese National Games just around the corner.
On May 22nd, Dainzin reached the peak of Mount Qomolangma, the world’s highest peak, as a mountain guide for the sixth time. With little time for celebration, he went immediately to Chengdu, and prepared for the 5v5 football tournament in the southwest city, part of the mass sports program of the 13th National Games of China.
From June 1 to 4, he fought for Tibet with their team jersey in Chongqing, and finally won second place with his teammates in the southwest zone division. He just returned to Lhasa last weekend.
Having just climbed down from the 8,844-meter tall top of the world, then coming up to the highest level of football in the country, speaks volumes about the fearlessness of Tibet and its people. But a life like this, one step on the snowy mountain, and the other on the football pitch, is the one that Dainzin loves and is used to.
Dainzin joined his football team much earlier than his mountaineering team. He was born in Gyangze County, Shigatse, and he spent his junior middle school year in east China’s Jinan. He was attracted by the football pitch at that school for the first time, when he was 12 years old. Football has been a part of his life ever since.
“I’ve even played football at the Qomolangma Base Camp,” Dainzin said. Now in Lhasa, he usually goes to play football with his friends after work. Although they have no official organization and no funds to support the team, that does not stop them from taking their game on the road elsewhere in China.
He remembers a game from last year even now. It was between “the old men” from Gyangze and “the old friends” from Chongqing. Dainzin led the team with the average age around forty and fifty years old, and they were still 5-5 until additional time.
“We made a final hit in the last two minutes, and won by 6-5!” Dainzin smiled and recalled, “my leg was cramped and I could hardly even walk.”
Dainzin can remember all the wins of the team, but not the number of goals that he scored: “As long as we win the game, it won’t matter if I don’t make a goal myself.”
From his point of view, football games need this spirit of teamwork, and it’s the same with mountaineering.
“There shouldn’t be any individual on the mountain; everything should be ‘team first’,” Dainzin said.
Besides the danger, mountain climbing has also created a lot of special memories for Dainzin.
“I was born in May, and it’s just the right season for mountaineering, so every year I’ ll spend my birthday on the mountain.”
Dainzin recalled that in 2013 he reached the top of Qomolangma on his birthday. “Looking at the clouds and sky beneath you, and hearing the teammates’ blessing from the intercom, these made my birthday really unforgettable.”
As opposed to competitive sports, mountaineering involves no audience and applause, but each time Dainzin and his teammates still try their best.
“The Tibetan Mountaineering Team is the main force for Chinese mountaineering, so we have to take on this responsibility,” he said, “just like playing football, we are amateur players, and there no broadcast for those games, but since we are representing Tibet, we will do our best.”
During the southwest regional preliminaries for the National Games, their performance went beyond expectations of their opponents. 3 years ago, Tibet couldn’t even take a single win. But this time, with nearly the same lineup, they made it to the finals.
The defeat in the final of the region means Tibet failed to reach the national finals. Dainzin says he feels really regret about this.
“During the last few minutes, we made an all-out assault, but our opponent made counter attacks. This might be the last chance for this group of people to participate in the National Games.”
But Dainzin says he won’t give up at either of his life passions. “Mountaineering is my job, and football is my hobby. I won’t stop until the day that I cannot play anymore.” Enditem