After a month of preparation – practice, tournaments, sweat, injuries, construction, choreography, and three weeks of half-days of class – C.V.K. was ready for Sports Day. And they were gonna do it right. The students were split into five color-specific teams, spread over the entire age range of the school: red, blue, green, white, and yellow, representing pre-K through high school seniors. And, Sports “Day” was really two days made up of all sorts of (very) different events.
The full-sized football (yes, I do mean soccer) field was divided widthwise, allowing four games to be played simultaneously. In one game, the sixth graders, decked out in fancy gear, played an intense game of soccer. They played like their legos depended on it, the whole weight of their color resting on their shoulders.
At the same time, three games of handball were occurring. As an American, I had never seen handball before; seemingly handball is just soccer for those who prefer throwing and bouncing instead of kicking (with a little bit of monkey-in-the-middle mixed in for good measure). It also uses basketball rules, preventing players from simply grabbing the ball and running. With three games being played at once, balls were flying into other games, evoking a sense of pure chaos for spectators.
Practiced during the class-less, lawless afternoons preceding Sports Day, but seemingly absent from the festivities (and surely deserving of mention) was Chairball. Resembling short-range basketball, chairball has one big twist. The traditional basketball hoop is replaced by a team member standing on a chair, holding a laundry basket over his or her head. Clearly, they can do their best to assist their team by moving to catch the ball, but they face much more pressure than a stoic, metal basketball hoop has ever known. Popular with the elementary school kids, chairball is far more entertaining than your typical basketball game.
Not to be left out, the kindergarten carried on Sports Day activities of its own. The main event: tug-of-war! There might be nothing cuter than eighty toddlers, donning hats made from recycled milk cartons, flower headbands, sequins and makeup, playing a massive game of tug-of-war. Unless of course, after so many games, all that tension and tugging, the rope, pulled taut, snaps directly in the middle, sending each side’s tiny tuggers flying into a flat, domino-ed pile. The way they all bounced up, made of rubber, brushed off their knees and ran to the canteen for lunch, was equally adorable.
Friday was the real deal: official Sports Day. Cheer stands had been constructed. The band and junior band were prepped and ready to play. A parade had been planned: floats built, costumes rented, faces painted, and hair elaborately styled.
The parade was painstakingly elaborate, the student-powered floats massive. Each team color had come up with their own individual theme, ranging from Victorian Era, to traditional Thai, to something showcasing a massive, red demon. Confusing, delightful and bizarre, the students mixed in costumes and props as they saw fit. There were costumes including what I can only assume were colorful condoms, Thai slaves, some gender-swapping prince/princess combos, and hill tribe-themed dancers.
Each team had not only its own parade section, but a cheer stand, with color-coordinated decorations and two sets of cheerleaders, one elementary and one senior high. The choreography, with crowd participation, was impressively mastered, the costumes flashy and loud. It seemed to be more about team spirit, screaming, shouting, glittery team spirit, than about the sporting events themselves.
The events leading up to the grand finale football game were mostly toddler-oriented. There was a relay race in which adults ran while carrying pre-schoolers, a three-legged race where adults were tied to small children, and a big-wheel race that mostly ended with the little kids riding around in circles.
Despite the oddity of all the sporting events, Sports Day was a huge success. Win and I, both on the blue team, represented our color proudly. Blue sunglasses, bubble necklace, dragon crocs, skirt, shoes, earrings, and hats. We rocked blue hard.
Blue vs. Green. Red vs. White. Yellow vs. Blue. Red vs. Yellow. White vs. Green. The whole thing was a chaotic jumble of running, screaming, and pom-poms. It was a high-energy, high-excitement day, but I have absolutely no idea who won any of the games.