Sports Day: The Time of Your Life or The Day That Wouldn't End?

WOW. It has been A LONG TIME. Have no fear. I will catch you all up!

Back in early May, just after my school's midterms, was sports day!

Sports Day is like field day in America. When I was a kid field day was a 1-day or a half-day event. Sports Day in Korea is... something else. I didn't document the actual event that well, I mostly just wanted to take pictures with my favorite students, so I hope my words will do the event justice.


That's right. There's two days to Sports Day in Korea. If you're familiar with swimming/track and field/gymnastics, you know there's prelims and finals. Think of Day 1 as prelims. (Or if you're familiar with any sort of tournament set up, Day 1 is group play.)

So on the first day, as per usual with my school, no one told me anything. I was in my classroom for a long time, because there was a Buddhist school event happening, but once Sports Day actually started I finally ventured out into the chaos.

I say chaos because that's what it was.

The first event was 3-legged running, so it took up the entire soccer field. I was the designated cellphone holder for my kids' cellphones. After that the field become multipurpose: soccer in the middle, pigu in two corners, jump roping behind one goal.

Now, no one clearly explained it to me, but there's essentially these are the events:
  • 3-legged running
  • Relay Race (I would estimate it was an 8 person 1600M or so)
  • Tug-O-War (which I was asked to explain the name several times)
  • Soccer (For the boys)
  • Pigu (For the girls)

  • Jump Roping (where you try to get the rope around you 3+ times in one jump.... IDK.)
All of these events are organized by grade.The running events are all done by time. The fastest teams for each grade move on to the finals. Pigu, tug-O-war, and jump roping were all knock out style for all classes in all grades.Soccer was knock out tourament style with the top 4 teams for each grade. The top 4 were decided in "group play" style in the weeks before Sports Day.

I mostly just felt really awkward all day. I can't hang out with the students all day because I'm not really a student, but I never feel comfortable with the teachers because they're all older than me and, you know, there's a language barrier.

I eventually found some students to hang out with... All 3rd grade girls: 

They shared their doughnuts with me.


Day 2 is the Finals. The BIG DAY.

To start off the day was the relay races. It was great to see how (un)athletic some of my kids are. First they had prelims for the relays, then finals for all events (pigu, soccer, 3-legged running, jump roping and tug-O-war) before the relay finals at the very end.

Here are some pics from the 3rd grade shoot out to decide the winner:

When you make your pk.
When you miss your pk.
He always tells me he's Messi/Ronaldo.... I think he's more of a Mesut.
And then...
The game winner! 

I have mixed feelings about sports day. I have good memories of my field day from when I was a kid, but looking at it as an adult it is awful. For the 10 kids, mostly boys who are really athletic (except that one 3rd grade girl who is a pigu killer...she was picking off players like a sniper), it's just a day to hang around in the shade, play on your cellphone/play with each other's hair, and eat a ton of junk food. (We're talking doughnuts, pizza, chicken, hotdogs, chicken sandwiches, and ice cream. Oh. My. Goodness. So. Much. Ice. Cream.)

Some of my kids, the athletic ones, loved sports day. I asked a lot of kids if they enjoyed sports day. Many said no, but it was better than classes. Can't argue with that!


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