Today and tomorrow the school is holding their annual sports meet. My students were asking what sports meets are like in America, but I don’t really think we have them, at least not at university. It could be like a super glorified version of field day, but I’ve never been to one of those so I’m not really sure.
My favorite part about the sports meet is that we have two days off of classes. The students like this aspect as well, but it’s not such a holiday for them since they still are required to attend the sports meet all day both days. The freshmen seemed pretty excited, since it is the first time. The older students were coming in to borrow books to read since they expect a lot of boredom.
Anyway, it sure seems like a big deal because students have been practicing for months. For the past week, we have been hearing loud music and orders issuing from the stadium across campus. Yesterday, the students had to practice in the pouring rain. Not so much for the sports part, more for the big performance. The Chinese do love their performances. Think of the Olympic opening ceremonies on a college level.
There was the parade of athletes and the required speeches, which we fortunately missed. Then there was a drum dance, hundreds of freshmen performing morning exercises, and hundreds of sophomores performing tai chi, with a few extra talented kung fu people thrown in.
The students were thrilled that we came. We only stayed for about an hour but came back in the afternoon to see Christina run in a relay. Everyone was hugely excited about the foreigner participating, whether they knew her or not. Even though the rest of us were just standing around taking pictures, we were still pretty popular. Several random students came up and nervously asked to take pictures with us, which they can now show to everyone they know when they talk about their close foreigner friends.
After Christina ran her part of the race and walked back across the field, the students went wild with cheers. Actually, when Kevin and I waved to our students as we left the field, they all started yelling and cheering too, and we hadn’t even done anything. It doesn’t take much to impress them. Sometimes it’s kind of fun to be celebrities.