This weekend was Sports Day, essentially the same structure as last year's but never boring. I was much more relaxed as I knew what to expect from my participation in the teacher's relay. Last year, the 50 meters I ran was on the side of the track where the parents and visitors sat, so there was an eerie silence. This time, I was in front of the students so there was a reassuring chorus, "Go for it, Emily-sensei!"
The girls danced the Soran Bushi with great energy, and this time there was a change in the blocking - if not the age-old choreography - so that the third-years formed a zig-zag pattern. And even though between rehearsals and both years I've probably seen the boys do their group gymnastics a dozen times, it never fails to bring tears to my eyes when the boy on top manages to stand up and raise a victorious hand. This year, though one group fell half-way through and had to try again, another managed to straighten smoothly up with superb balance.
The first years did one relay that was more of an obstacle course - first they had to duck under a clear tape - that many ran into instead - then they had to win rock-paper-scissors with a group of teachers, then dash across a balancing beam. I was very pleased to see, that although the boy with hemophilia didn't participate in most of the activities, he was allowed to run part of the relay, though I wonder if the gigantic helmet didn't weigh him down.
The game with three boys linking arms to hold up a fourth, shirtless one, who then scrabbles with a similarly clad boy to see who can knock the other off their "horse" was... still pretty hilarious. I know they think they're pretty tough, but the first-years are twelve, and still have baby-fat. It got pretty serious when it was the third-years turn, though, as each side had five teams win. They refused to accept a tie, so the faculty decided they could both choose one representative team to duel to the death. Even after several minutes grappling with each other, they were at a standstill, so a draw was called. Those two boys probably have bragging rights the rest of the school year.