Sports day is a big deal in Thailand. It’s almost like field day in elementary school. The whole school participates in sporting events like track and field, Regent’s sports day on December 15 was for the secondary school. I was stationed at the javelin throw, it was terrifying as students would come up to the javelin and say they had never done it before. My job was to mark the throw; it was a boring job that I needed to be alert for. I am not a land sports person.
After sports day was the staff team triathlon. Sign up for it was in November but I didn’t sign up at that time. I hadn’t been swimming in a while and I wasn’t feeling confident. Then I started swimming a few mornings a week with some of the gap years, but I had a feeling that I would be a pretty poor swimming teacher if I got lapped during the triathlon.
Many people asked me if I was participating in the triathlon and when I said no they told me I could always be a spare. It is not uncommon for someone to drop out of the triathlon due to illness or other reasons. I volunteered to be a spare for swimming, two of the other gap year students volunteered to be spares for cycling and running.
Surprisingly spares were not needed that day so the three of us formed our own team. We were in the last round of the triathlon. It had been divided up into heats since the pool is only six lanes. It took me six minutes to do my 400 meter swim; I out-swam all the other swimmers by a minute.
Little did I know, that during the heat before me, the gap year who was doing the cycling was frantically trying to find a bicycle because she did not think she was actually going to participate in the triathlon. She went to the head of boarding to find a bicycle. They went to the storage room where bicycles and camping equipment are stored but it was locked.
Together managed to jimmy a window open and pull a bike out the window for her to use. Which is a funny mental image because he is grandfatherly sort of man who is alway in a collard shirt with a tie and she is a small energetic Colombian. She got to the swimming biking meeting point a few minutes before I tagged her.
Our spontaneous team took third. Or as I overheard one student telling another during sports day, a “it’s not bronze, it’s dark gold.”
[Update] I participated in the charity dodgeball tournament January 27, the money raised went to Women 4 a Mission. Last year the PE team took gold, this year we came in third (on purpose, can’t host an even and win two years in a row). I got the head of secondary out when we played the senior leadership team.
CONGRATULATIONS — your “spare” team did well and students were happy for you!