I recently went to my favourite school’s sports day. Lawrence had filled me in a bit on the type of events to expect, and upon hearing about games involving people balancing on shoulders, and upon seeing two massive balls sitting in the coridoor outside the staffroom, I concluded that I must attend.
Things started fairly normally with a sprint. Watching the first years was the best, with the earnest determination showing on their little faces.
I’ll just say at this point that the whole sports day is very different to the English equivalent. At home it’s all about being competitive, and about taking part in fairly normal athletic pursuits – sprinting, jumping, throwing, long distance etc. Plus it’s all geared towards individual achievements. Here, the individual achievements are largely overlooked and the score is awarded to the team you are in – red or white. Hence the fact that everyone is wearing either a red or white cap.
From the reasonably normal start of the sprint, it got crazier and crazier. One game involved a group of four hanging onto a bamboo pole which they had to manouver around various cones and obstacles. When they got it back to the rest of their team, the group had to drag it along the ground so that they could jump over it (the teams being 20+ people, this was quite impressive) and then do the same over their heads to get it back to the start for the next group. This would never pass health and safety laws back home. Video clip below:
There was an awesome game where fours teams had to run around high nets, being held up by older kids, then suddenly a whistle would blow and they’d have to throw in beanbags. In the second part of the game their grandparents (?!) were roped into help, making the whole effort far more succesful, since the nets were high and the kids not. Check out the video below:
My favourite game involved teams of four comprised of three people holding up the fourth on their shoulders. The white teams then had to run around and steal the caps of the white teams (and vice versa). Hilarious to watch, and definitely another fail from the health and safety nazi’s point of view.
There was even a “three legged” race, but instead done in giant sumo wrestlers shorts:
By far the funniest event saw teams of four getting on giant skis, which they had to manouver straight down the field to where their teachers were standing on podiums. They had to provide the teacher with an item of clothing from a bucket, and then take the giant skis back again. All fine and well, but getting a bunch of nine year olds to realise that unless they all moved the right leg at the right time they would find themselves in a pile, flat on their faces, was nigh on impossible. Cue repeated fallage. And to top off the hilarity, once the race was finished, the teachers were dressed in silly outfits – a samurai, witch, basball player, and anpanman – a famous cartoon character. Great stuff.
Finally, the giant balls came into play – the entire red and white teams (i.e. the whole school) surrounded the sports field – the red on one side, and the white on the other. They had to pass the giant ball over their heads, the fastest getting the points. You can see the red team in action below. They went on to win the day.
Can’t wait for my other schools sports day now!
[Edit to add – apologies that the quality of some of these shots is lacking. Stupid me used her camera when drunk, and as I was shooting at night used a high ISO setting which I forgot to reset. Grainy-o-rama. Doh!]