Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sports Day

Sorry for not posting in the last month but I've been pretty busy.  By busy I mean mostly lazy but there have been a few things going on.  We had two sports days this month.  The first one was here in Faleloa and only involved our students.  We had events ranging from 25 meter sprints to 400 meter races (1 lap).  It was a great success. A lot of families came out and watched and brought food with them.  My favorite part of the day was watching the Tongan mothers getting really into cheering on their kids.  You would have these little kids running and then out of nowhere would run this big Tongan woman next to the track and race their children to the finish line.  I say big because most of these women were +225 lbs.  They could move surprisingly fast though.  And then they started to get a little too excited and shit got a little out of hand.  During one of the sprints for the Class 1 girls, a couple of the moms ran out to cheer on their kids, when another Mom thought it'd be funny to take out one of them.  She ran out and basically bulldozed straight into one of the on rushing moms.  She just lowered her head and drilled the other woman in the chest.  It was nuts. I don't think she meant to connect as well as she did, but she clobbered the other woman.  Everyone was hysterically laughing but the other Mom was pretty shaken up.  I wouldn't be surprised if she was a little concussed but the next race went on like nothing happened.
So all the winners were recorded and they would all compete in the big sports day on the next island over which was last Friday.  In the meantime all the kids that were to compete in the big sports day had hardcore cardio workouts at least 3 times a week after class.  It was crazy how much these kids ran.  They would long distance running, sprints, push ups, you name it and they did it.  I was very impressed as I sat in the shade in front of my house watching and thinking how this shit wouldn't fly in America.
Last Thursday I wore up at 8 for my class at 8:30.  When I got to the classroom I was told that today we would only be having a half day and that we wouldn't be teaching.  Instead the teachers were going to teach the kids to march and to practice their cheers.  I sure as hell wasn't about to march around the field with the kids for a couple hours in the hot sun, so I grabbed my iPod and speakers from my house and set myself up in the shade by the school.  I cranked up some Bob Marley and ended up taking an hour and a half nap with all the slow kids who didn't make the travel roster lol.  After about an hour and a half one of the kids came and woke me up and told me it was my turn to teach them some new cheers.  They already the Remember the Titans cheer customized for our village.  I taught them "We Will Rock You," "In the Jungle the mighty jungle...," and "Sweet Caroline."  I also taught them the wave which you see at big soccer games.  It was really funny seeing the kids singing "Sweet Caroline" and they loved "We Will Rock You" with the clapping.
On Friday we all crammed into the one bus on the island and headed to next island over.  Almost the whole school (about 50 students) and 8 students squeezed in there.  There were 7 teams competing.  The two schools from our island and 5 from the next island over.  Ironically it was March 18th, the day after St. Patrick's day here but due to the time difference it was still March 17th back home, and our village color is green.  So true to tradition I wore green on St. Paddy's day.  We did alright.  We came in third for over all medal count and one of my Class 6 students won MVP due to his 7 gold medals.

Class 5 Girls race

One of the Mothers racing the kids to the finish line

Class 5 Boys race

This is 'Aisea.  At the end of every race he ran his mother (pictured in the background) would run out and chase him down with a water bottle to get him to run faster.  As you can see he was a very good sport about it.

Classes 3-5

More motherly encouragement during the sack races

Class 1 boys getting ready for their relay race.

Class 2 girls relay race

Packing into the bus on the way to the big sports day on the next island.

This was taken as we left the school but we stopped down the road after this picture was taken to pick up some more kids and moms.  Sione, the boy sitting on the dash was holding a 1 year old in his lap for the rest of the ride while sitting on the dash.

More of the bus ride

Faleloa getting ready to march out for the opening ceremonies

This is a picture of my Class 6 English night class.  Every Monday night from now until the end of October (excluding breaks) I teach Monday night class for two hours to help get Class 6 ready for their big exam.