In the week leading up to the sports festival, we had half days at work. In the morning there were classes and the afternoons were used to practice and prepare.
Reasons my students have called me cool during sports day practice:
- I had a red bandana in my hair.
- I was wearing a blue hat and shirt.
- When I stood next to the rugby coach who was wearing a white shirt, we matched the tents. (Blue and white striped)
- Even alone, I was informed that I matched because my skin was apparently white enough to count as matching the tents.
- Because I can carry four chairs at once.
I don’t know how everyone can stand to be in my cool bubble. It’s as if I have a forcefield of pure cool around me at all times. (Really, though, what is this madness? Is the definition of cool that much different in Japan than it is in America? Am I seriously just cool by existing. That can’t possibly be true.)
On Sunday it was time for my second sports festival. In preparation, I made sure to apply plenty of sunscreen before I left the apartment. If you don’t know why I’m telling you this now, you will soon. I dressed to support my team.
Most people are surprised to find out that I’m actually a really fast sprinter. I do a couple different sports, but mostly if you tell me that I’m going to have to run a mile, I’m out of breath before I get to the starting line (except for those few periods when I was able to establish and stick to a running routine). But sprinting has always been fun for me and I got to show off during the teacher’s relay.
Though I only ran a short distance, I apparently made an impression of the audience. I had several students come up to me and express their amazement at how fast I was. I mean, they didn’t have to act that surprised. But it was definitely a nice little ego boost. As I was walking back from getting water after race one of the students on the red team saw me.
Her: Are you going to run?
Me: I just ran! Didn’t you see it?
Her: I missed it!
Me: Oh no! I was really fast, too!
Her: Really? How about we race? From here to the red team tent?
Me: Right now? Ok, go!
I was holding my camera at the time, but I took off. The commentary from the student was the best part of festival. It went something like this: “Wait, you’re fast! I didn’t think you would be so fast!” And lots of laughing. It was great. But it’s a good thing we stopped the race when we did otherwise she would have realized how bad I am at long distance.
The day was good, but incredibly hot. I tried to keep myself covered and properly coated in sunscreen, but by the end of the day I had earned the nickname “Jodi-panda.” It might be time to get some smaller sunglasses. Or maybe I should start wrapping a towel around my face to protect it from the sun like some of the other teachers. (This is not even an exaggeration. That’s the crazy part.) All of the students got a kick out of seeing my bright red face. Hopefully if I chug enough water and hide from the sun, it’ll go away quickly.
For a more detailed account of what happens at a sports festival, see my post from last year.
Now, time for pictures!
I took a bunch of other pictures that include the students faces. When I do eventually go home, I plan on using all the photos I’ve taken with students in them and making a book to present as a goodbye present to the school and my teachers.
The best news about the sports festival? Even though the red team did not win the award for winning the different events, they did win the spirit/ cheering award. The cheer leader for the red team is one of the students doing the speech contest. There are some times when my students really impress me. Seeing how the three red team leaders were able to rally their team and really stepped up to take on these leadership roles makes me really impressed and amazed by them.
Even though I had fun at the sports festival last year, this one was so much better. I was able to be a part of a team and cheer alongside the students. I had so many students ask to get pictures with me (I’m totally their mascot. I accept this.) and one student got incredibly happy when I gave her the red braided red string I had been wearing around my wrist. The sports festival was just the ego boost and the feeling of actually being a part of the school that I needed.