In Mongolia there are three national sports: Wrestling, Archery and Horse Racing. There is a festival every summer, Naadam, that celebrates those three sports.
But, I've uncovered a secret fourth national sport [of sorts]. Basketball. It's the only other sport that they play on a regular basis. Forget baseball, football/soccer and rugby, basketball is where it's at.
Everywhere that I've been there has been a basketball court that the Mongolians I was with scoped out shortly after our arrival. In the countryside they play basketball, at my church we have a very loved basketball court and my apartment complex that rarely has an empty court.
They. love. it.
It's amusing to watch them play basketball but I've found that my favorite part is listening. By listening I figured out that the word for "shoot" like "shoot the ball" or "take the shot" sounds a lot like "shit." And when I say it sounds a lot like it, I really mean it sounds exactly like it. And they say it all the time. Every person playing and every person watching is yelling this profanity. As I watch one of the sweetest older ladies, who is granddaughter to 3 of the youth, yell at the top of her lungs for her grandson to "shit" I think I might explode with laughter.
After a while of laughing and debating on whether or not to tell them that isn't a good word in English, I finally decided to tell one of them. He thought it was hilarious and proceeded to yell it in my direction every time he was going to say it. He also informed everyone of it's meaning in English and every opportunity to say the word they now take with utmost joy.
So, next time you're playing the secret, fourth national sport of Mongolia...laugh and smile about their word for "shoot."