Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sports Day

GOTTA love the awkward band members in their onesies!
Sports Day is an event that happens each year around the end of November/beginning of December. It occurs at all schools throughout Thailand, with most schools holding celebrations for three days in a row! I cannot imagine what schools do to fill up three whole days...at ACU we only had one day of festivities, which was plenty.

Students practicing cheering
Sports day runs as such: there are four “teams,” with students from various grades (1st through 12th) on each team. The team colors at ACU were blue, purple, orange and red (I was orange—GO ORANGE! Our team theme was “Halloween.” A bit late in the season, considering Sports Day happened after Thanksgiving...but that’s Thailand for you.). The teams had competed in various sports and dance competitions throughout the year, earning their teams points along the way. The culmination of all this was the official Sports Day, when the REAL competition is held—the cheering competition! Yes, that’s right, cheering is by far the biggest deal. And it’s a BIG DEAL. BIG. Like, a big enough deal that for the two weeks prior to Sports Day, all classes were shortened to make room for a 45-minute period at the end of each day simply to practice cheering.

Some of my Pratom 6 (6th grade) students
decked out for the morning parade

Track competition. Go go go!
The day was little bit boring, but there was much to take in. There was a parade down the main road of Ubon, complete with awkward high school marching band, bedazzled marchers, and slightly lack-luster flag bearers; a dancing competition for which I was a judge (although, I must say, it was difficult to judge four groups of 50 students all doing the exact same thing...); many track races on a chalk-line track laid down on the school’s soccer field (I ran in the teacher’s relay, and won gold!); primary students hula-hooping to the tune of gangnam style (I probably heard this song at least 23 times on Sports Day alone); and three separate rounds of cheering competitions.

The day ended with all students eagerly huddled on the soccer field, awaiting the results of who won sports day (which actually means, who won the cheering competition). And, drum roll please...ORANGE WON IT! I wasn’t surprised, because their cheer/dance sequence was pretty epic. Although Halloween was over a month ago in the hearts of American kids everywhere, the spirit was still alive and well in the orange team cheerers and dancers.

Mini hula-hoopers

Go Orange! These are the cheerleaders
And these are the cheerers. The students put these stands together themselves--quite impressive! I love the grim reaper lingering in the foreground