Wednesday marked my colegio’s first official special event day: the start of inter- and intrascholastic sports tournaments. The best way to describe it is field day.

Profes vs. Students

The Gimnasio Moderno Santa Barbara Sports Day (I’m sure it had a more official name) started off with an hour of sitting around doing nothing while the 11th graders put up balloons, posters and the compulsory sound system in the courtyard. Next came the parade. When I saw “parade” on the day’s schedule, I thought it would be a cute little stroll around the courtyard, maybe with a few kids from each grade doing something sporty.

High schoolers not so psyched to parade

Parade actually meant a parade. All 180-something students lined up by grade, led by classmates deemed responsible enough to carry signs and balls, and marched through the streets of Tabio. In the lead was a car with a decked-out sound system blasting dance music, and a volunteer firefighter truck making things official in the back. We covered about 90% of Tabio on foot, marching along to songs that are absolutely not appropriate for an all-grades Catholic school, and even less so at 8:30 am. All I could think of was how livid I would be if I were trying to sleep off a hangover and a “Sweet Dreams” remix was echoing through my window at that hour. Not one of the dozen spectators seemed phased, however.

8 am parading

After the parade, the national anthem, the Tabio anthem, the school anthem, the athletics anthem, the lighting of a large torch by 11th graders that I would never trust with live flames and some brief speeches, the teachers were put on display with various field day-type activities (that I rocked.)

Gang's all here.

White girl ups

At the morning break, the staff social committee held a birthday celebration for January and February birthdays with cake and soda. On that note, I’m glad Camp America takes group eating opportunities so seriously because working there really prepared me for Colombia. GMSB’s students and teachers enjoy desserts and special lunches for every possible occasion.

The afternoon was reserved for teachers vs. 10-11 grade men’s soccer and co-ed volleyball games. In a major lapse of judgment I volunteered for the volleyball team, mainly because someone flattered me by telling the other teachers I was athletic and I have problems turning down competition. As soon as we started playing I remembered that I really hate volleyball and I’m bad at it. I don’t want to hit this ball up in the air over a net, I want to catch it and run fast and throw people at the ground. Regardless, it was fun and the teachers won.

Speaking of rugby, one of my absolute favorite students randomly owns a ball and brought it to school. The 7th and 8th grade boys are more than obsessed with sports of all kinds so I’ve been trying to teach them some basics. Although they insist on throwing it like a football, I think they respect me a bit more now.

CRAZY 8th grade boys trying to learn rugby

If not productive, the start of intercursos was a great day. I let English go for the day and chatted with students and teachers in the sun over the constant blaring music. The easy, carefree vibe reflected a lot of the wonderful things about the colegio, and helped me remember that verb tenses aren’t going to dictate my time in Colombia.

How else do you get the rugby ball stuck in the bushes?