All summer (meaning since I got here, in May), I have been hearing about “Sports Day” at Sa-Nguan Ying School. My students have missed classes to practice, have stayed at school til 9 pm to practice (I can hear them from my apartment balcony), and have sometimes been so exhausted from practicing that they could barely function when they DID come to class.
So what IS Sports Day, exactly? It is the most extravagant school-wide event of the year. Every one of our 2000 students participates. At Sa-Nguan Ying, it was two full days dedicated to, in this order: A parade of the entire school through Suphan on Thursday morning, followed by two hours of opening ceremonies, and then team dance competitions, and finally, tournaments in volleyball, badminton, table tennis, basketball and soccer. And the most intricate costumes and stunningly coordinated cheer routines I have ever seen.
I remember having some sort of Sports Day (or maybe it was just a Jog-A-Thon?) in elementary school. Clearly, my fuzzy memories of it are telling — not a big deal. In contrast, during the Opening Ceremonies of Sports Day at SY School, there were fireworks set off that zoomed over our heads but UNDER the auditorium roof, exploding above banners that then unfurled from the ceiling with a pop and another huge spray of sparks — Harry Potter style. What?!? Amazing.
Take a look:
Whew!! It was quite the spectacle. Really, the only visual experience that I can compare this to in terms of beauty and precision is the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. Sports Day was THAT spectacular.
You’ll notice I didn’t take any pictures of sports. Because really, they paled in comparison to the singing and dancing. Thailand knows how to do grace and beauty well, that is for sure. But I’m also really quite glad to get my students back (in full form, not distracted) next week! The semester has flown by, and we have three units to cover before mid-September! Plus, I have some fun in store, too.