Another year, another Sports Day here at Yamsaard School. This year's Sports Day was a little different from my previous ones. For the first time in a few years, the Chairball competition was cancelled and an Exhibition Tug-o-War between combined teams of Teachers and Parents was held. As usual, the Games began with a parade around the neighborhood, but we were treated to an unexpected lighting of a tin foil cauldron of fire! Our school grounds are very small. Each team was sent to one corner of our rubber field.The whole past month, since the teams (Yellow, Pink, Orange and Blue) were selected, I've been talking trash to the kids. Teacher Malcolm and I were on the Yellow team again. Actually, I think the teachers were given their same color as last year.So, as Yellow Team is reigning chairball champions, we talked it up with the students, getting them all riled up, getting the competitive juices flowing! We didn't just beat them all last year, we DESTROYED them!Well, the competition was cancelled this year as a new competition (Speed Stacks) took too long and time ran out. Kind of sad because it was going to be nice to rub another embarrassing spanking in the faces of all of the kids...but technically Yellow retains the crown of champions, until such time that another team knocks us off!!In the place of chairball, they put Yellow and Pink together and we took on Orange and Blue in Tug-o-War. I had heard that they did this competition in previous years, but this was my first time. I used to love watching the sheer power on display when we had joint service field days in California when I was a Marine. Our Marine team had an awesome pulling technique that normally proved too much for the Army, Navy and Air Force teams.Walking up to the rope, being the first in line of 12 on our team, and looking across and seeing Teacher Kenneth in his snug-fitting orange polo was concerning, but I've always been told that it's not size that matters!
As the referee blew his whistle and the rope snapped taut from the opposite pulls of the two teams, the bigger team seemed to have the advantage. My feet slipped along the rubber playing surface, but I finally got my footing. The rope snugly tucked between my arm and ribs, I leaned back and began to push with what the kids termed my "chicken legs" (perhaps cuz they are so skinny combined with my yellow soccer socks that I wore as a gag).
As our team began rocking and pushing rearwards we gained the technique advantage over the Orange/Blue losers, the rope began hopping in our direction, a couple inches with each rhythmic tug. Grunting and groaning, squeezing the rope with all our might, we twelve found ourselves robbing the other team of their will, of their power and their confidence!Soon the Whistle went, signaling victory number one in a best-of-three competition. I turned around to Teacher Malcolm and Teacher Ariel and the parents. Everyone was rubbing their hands, just like the little tiny kids when they compete, only much larger. The faces were just as red as the rope burned hands. Our combined strength got us through round one, which we couldn't lose since we talked ourselves up all week prior! I counted 7 men and 5 women on our team, two male parents pulling barefooted!The teams switched sides and went at it again, but this time our team much more confident of victory. The kids excitedly beat their makeshift drums, cheered their cheers, and we claimed the championship in a quick but hard-fought second contest!It was the most energy I've exerted in a long time! It was fun and now Yellow officially holds the Yamsaard Tug-o-War AND Chairball titles! As holders, I'm sure we will continue to talk trash!I think the Pink team claimed the overall Sports Day title this year (student competitions) both boys and girls. I saw a Yellow Team third grader crying earlier in the day during the running competition because we were eliminated in the qualification rounds, relegated to fourth place, right out of the medals. Poor kid didn't get a medal. At least he had the desire and passion and gave it his all!These are a few of the pictures showing some of the events, the Tug-o-War as well as a bunch of the kids who pulled, ran, stacked and had a good time in the Bangkok sun during this years Sports Day.