Memories are weird. They get in way sometimes and remind you of things you’d much rather not recall. In my case, high school sports festivals.
This past Saturday, partnering organizations at Tohoku University held a joint sports festival
to try and unite both native and international students together through exercise and activities. My blood pressure was slowly rising as I was biking to campus; vivid memories of terrible high school screw-ups during sports festivals back in America. Picture an non-athletic 5’5″ boy trying to win one for the team; not the best scenario really. Maybe I’m just being pessimistic. Anyway, I got to the gym and began to change into my gym clothes.
I was placed on the Purple team. We were given purple bandannas to distinguish our teammates. I found that kind of cool; you don’t see that normally back where I used to live. The first thing we did–after the initial opening speech–was a game they called “Tail”; A game that involved trying to grab the opponents’ bandanna strapped on their hind-side. People were smart; they moved back to back to make sure neither’s bandanna was taken! Some kept on spinning around to make sure no one could grab their bandanna. Some others just made their tails so short it was practically impossible to grab it! I managed to grab one but also lost my own bandanna, so it was a rather fair trade. I can’t remember who won but 楽しかったです！(It was fun!)
The second game involved the teams throwing bean bags into a basket strapped onto the back of two students dashing around like road runners around the gym. Team with the most bean bags in the basket wins! My team, purple team, and yellow team won first place, both teams having placed all fifty bean bags into the basket! Suddenly, the idea of actually winning the sports festival was within our grasps!
For our third game we had a rush of the classic tug-of-war! Our team lost the first round to the Blue team but won against Orange team after, putting us clean in 4th place!
Finally, for the last game, was another classic–a relay race! The White team had an extra player (there were supposed to only be 10 players per team), so, unfortunately, every other team had to select one team member to run the relay twice (guess who it turned out to be!). Running the relay was the worst out of all the games we played. Scary thoughts of running track and field in high school and falling in my first track meet in the hundred-meter dash came back to my mind. I was scared I’d fail again. But I guess that’s when I realized that none of the past mattered anymore and I had to just run for my teammates–for myself. Three, two, one, go; the whistle blew. We were off.
My team was amazing! The first corner was a mess because everyone was starting in the same position and many of us fell onto the floor (which in hindsight was probably a very funny scene)! I ended up passing my baton at 5th place and my teammates were off as well! At the final straight, I was the anchor and, with my whole team behind me cheering, made Purple team reach 2nd place in the relay! After the overall tally was counted, our team ended up 2nd and received ice cream treats as prizes! Kyouhei, Chihiro, Mitsumasa, Akari, Theo, Yutaka, Tayfun, and Chiharu, you guys were awesome!
Memories are weird. But sometimes, they can also make you smile. A lot. They remind you of fun times; no matter where you’d have been. In my case, vivid memories of high school sports festivals came rushing back to my mind–the good AND the bad–filling my head with a sense of nostalgia and happiness I thought I wouldn’t get here in Japan. Yeah, memories are weird.