An Unlikely Chicago Scene: Ghana in Fog

Each day, photographer Paul Octavious visits a mound of earth in Chicago that he calls the hill: “Each time I have come to the hill a new story is told to me as if the hill is my stage and the locals are the actors in this daily play.”

One day, about two years ago, an unlikely story unfolded in front of his eyes, featuring men who were very much not locals: “A soccer game started on one of the fields I was walking by. I photographed and took video of this experience. Later on after taking the video, I learned that the team was the Ghana national team! Amazing and random all at the same time.”

Ghana In Fog from Paul Octavious on Vimeo. Thank you to Joel for the tip.

4 thoughts on “An Unlikely Chicago Scene: Ghana in Fog

  1. Andrew

    That’s a nice looking video, fun to watch…but the “Ghana national team?” That seems almost impossible–it looks much more like your typical Chicago men’s league game between immigrant teams (which fairly regularly inlcude players telling you, dubiously, that they once played for their national team). The clues include the fairly pedestrian touches on the ball, the rotund fellow refereeing the game in a giagantic baggy t-shirt, the general lack of pace/grace, and the simple unlikelyhood that the Black Stars would train on a public park rec field in the middle of Chicago.

    I like it as a piece of video art, but is he seriously claiming that was the Ghanaian national team?

  2. Tom Dunmore Post author

    Well yes, see the photographer’s comments here. There is a high-quality turf field there (by Montrose harbor) that a team in the area might well rent out to train on; there aren’t a lot of other options.

    However, a search of Google finds nothing about a team from Ghana playing in the Chicago area at that time, though I’m not sure of the precise date. So maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Oh well, it’s still pretty.

  3. Andrew

    Sorry, I’m not buying it. You can see from some of the photos that are on the Vimeo page you link to that it’s not the turf field–it’s the patchy grass field half on the hill with hand-lined lime. And the jerseys that say “Black Stars” on the back are Adidas (neither of which fits any Ghana kit in recent history). I promise you that is a men’s team, most likely of Ghanaian immigrants, out for a week-end rec league game. It is pretty–but it’s not the Ghanaian national team.

  4. Tom Dunmore Post author

    I’m not trying to sell you on it, Andrew. No need to apologise. You’re most likely right. Maybe the photographer can explain who later told him it was the Ghanaian team, and where they said they had a game. It doesn’t appear that he spoke to the people playing at the time from his comments. Perhaps it was a visiting team “representing” Ghana playing at the Pan-African Soccer tournament that’s been held a few times in Chicago.