Sports Day!

EDIT: Shortly after 100 followers, I have now written 100 posts! :D I was hoping for the two achievements to happen at the same time (so my 100th post would have concerned having 100 followers), but I’ll settle for this. :P

Firstly, I have to say that I am disappointed none of you looked up the word ”syzygy”, or at least showed a mild interest. :P From wiktionary:

  1. (astronomy, astrology) A kind of unity, namely an alignment of three celestial bodies (for example, the Sun, Earth, and Moon) such that one body is directly between the other two, such as occurs at an eclipse.

I think the only reason I picked it was that I saw it on dictionary.com as a ‘cool word’ and I’m kind of running out of ideas. ;) If you want, recommend a word! :D This week’s word is tittle.

***

When events come around, they happens in quick fire succession, like bullets from a machine gun. The first three major(ish) occasions of the Summer happened within a week of each other: Sports Day; my first karate competition; and a concert I was playing the piano in. This is the order in which they happened; however, funnily enough, the list also starts with the event I was most worried about and ends with the event I was least worried about.

This post was originally called ‘A Series of Troublesome Events’ and was about all three of these happenings (I’m trying not to use the word ‘event’). Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time, so the karate competition and the piano concert will have to wait.

You may need some background. I’ll basically plagiarise last year’s post on Sports Day and go with a ‘Harry Potter’ theme. So in my school, there are four houses, which will be called (as in last year’s post) Potter, Draco, Harry and Snape. I am in Potter.

However, my experience of Sports Day was very different from last year – as in extremely different. Last year I was in the BBC Junior Reporters’ Club, interviewing athletes after they had finished their events, lazing around, and occasionally cheering on my house.

This year I quit Junior Reporter’s Club. I was also one of the runners in the 1500m.

Yes I know – I have often harped on about how terrible I am at sports and my horrific hand-eye co-ordination. At times, I have prided myself on my unsportiness. I even helped set up FAFA, the Forever Anti-Football Association (or soccer to y’all Americans). If anything, I merely have a slight dislike of sport, but I think I blow it a bit out of proportion. I don’t really know why, but perhaps it’s to have a conversation starter. But I digress.

One of the few exceptions to this is running. I like it, as it requires very little hand-eye (and foot-eye) co-ordination, but only after the actual run has occurred. Whenever I run a fairly long distance, I am uncomfortable throughout, but afterwards I say something crazy like, “That wasn’t so bad.” Such is the madness. D:

My lungs much prefer short distance running to long distance running, but I am comparatively *better* at long distance. That isn’t really saying much. If you could measure running ability on a scale of “You are an Object at Absolute Zero” to “Fast as Light”, I would flounder somewhere between “good” and “good“, if that makes any sense at all. Besides, I would never directly volunteer to compete in Sports Day, being me, but it never works out that way, does it?

The selection process  is very laid back. Basically if you ask to compete and you have a reputation of being fairly good at your chosen sport, you’re in. Occasionally, informal competitions are held to find the best people for the event, but only when there are more applicants for a race than places (normally two places per house).

Here’s how it happened.

I was walking along a corridor with a friend when I walked by the notice board in my school. My head of house and a fellow Potter were standing by it, discussing something. The boy was talking about how there were “hardly any good runners in Potter…”

I may avoid social occasions at all cost, but I can also be very big-headed (+1 for an AMAZING PERSONALITY COMBO) so I muttered under my breath, “I can be a good runner.” or something along those lines.

Silly Joe. Silly silly Joe.

If there is one thing you should know about me, it is that I am unable to speak quietly – I am unable to mutter or whisper without every person in the neighbourhood hearing – never mind every single animal in 64 Zoo Lane.

So when I muttered, my fellow Potter heard me. Next thing you know, I’m suggesting more people, the guy is ecstatic that he’s found some runners and it’s hinted that I will somehow be involved in Sports Day. I’m left with my friend, who is laughing at my predicament.

Sports. I have become implicated with sports. D:

It happened so quickly that at first I thought I was a reserve. Later I found that I had been put down to run for 1500m, and after some checking, I found that to be true.

What? What! WHAT?!

I was so apprehensive that I would come last, or near last. I have a bit of a reputation as the class boffin – not necessarily a bad reputation but a reputation nonetheless – and I didn’t want to reinforce the connotations that come with that. Even still, I didn’t practise that much, although I went out with my dad and sister a few times for a mile run.

There was also a house Sports Day rehearsal a few days before the actual event, but I was only told about it while it was happening, and since I hadn’t eaten lunch yet, I decided to skip it since loads of people weren’t going. Obviously there was some mental anguish, but my stomach prevailed.

It turns out that three people (including myself) had applied for two places in the 1500m,  so they staged a mini-competition during the rehearsal which I missed. Since I conveniently didn’t turn up, I was automatically shoehorned into the race with the winner of the competition. If I’m honest, I probably would have lost the mini-competition anyway, so I guess it’s a good thing I decided not to go to the rehearsal.

Anyhow, when it came to the day of the competition, I was freaking out. I’ve never actually competed against anyone before, and didn’t really have any idea how fast I was at running a mile. What if I thought I was fast but really I was a snail? Of course, the opposite was also possible, but I was much more inclined to the first idea. Track events were only in the afternoon, with field events in the morning, so the first half of the day were spent as usual.

Then I got changed at lunch, and walked to the fields after registration, sitting with my fellow Potters in a temporary pen constructed with posts and rope. 1500m was one of the last events, so I sat on the grass for an hour, sipping some water and not paying any attention to the races, while the people beside me listened to music and discussed whether or not Goku was better that Superman. Occasionally I ran to the toilet which was about 100m away and came back exhausted. Needless to say this made me severely doubt my stamina and didn’t do much for my confidence.

You know I said earlier that there was a mini-competition to find who would join me in the 1500m? The loser kept asking me whether I would drop out so he could run instead. Politely, but all the same. Strangely enough, I refused every time. I guess he would have been faster, but in a strange way, I kind of wanted to compete in Sports Day, despite the risk of losing. Meh.

Eventually a voice rang out: “Could all the 1500m competitors see Mr. M at the starting line?” Shaking, I went with some others to the start of the track. I brought my water bottle with me and then left it near the start of the race. There were 8 people competing in each year, but I was running with people in the year below me as well to save time, so there were 16 in total. They positioned us at the start. Some people crouched down but I just stood up, terrified of how badly I could perform. It was 2 and 3/4 laps (or maybe three and 3/4) and it looked like a long distance from where I was. I made a silent prayer.

“And… go!”

I tried to run quickly but also pace myself. The first thing I heard was, “No! Why are you… Nooooo!” and a runner was left behind. Left and right, runners were collapsing into heaps on the ground, leaving carnage in their wake. I didn’t actually see this, but I heard heavy thuds behind me, although those noises may have been feet.

I quickly fell behind three or four people. I was panting heavily, trying to make my strides long and quick, but my lungs weren’t having it. I fluctuated around that position for a while, occasionally seeing someone slide past me. About halfway through the race, I saw a clump of people ahead of me and, lengthening my stride, found the willpower to run in front of them.

“And Joe runs into 3rd place!” the commentator said. I was ecstatic, but my lungs were already near breaking point. I passed the crowds and tried to pick out my name, but it was a maelstrom of meaningless noise. My breaths were heavy and getting longer and slower. As I ran round the curve, people overtook me one by one, most of them in my year but a few younger than me. By the final lap, I was in fifth position in my year, but I was beyond all caring as to positions now – I wasn’t last and I wasn’t second last either, so as long as I kept my place without having an asthma attack, I would be happy.

I heard a battle cry behind me, so I edged up my pace. Sports Day really is the Hunger Games, but you know, toned down for the adolescents. When I saw the finish line, I sprinted. My head of house was cheering me on and the commentator may have encouraged me (he’s one of my friends), but again, I could tell nothing from the crowds. Behind me, another competitor was also sprinting, trying to beat me at the last second, but I managed to outpace him and pipped him to fifth place.

I crumpled onto the grass, breathing heavily. The commentator mentioned something about the 1500m being gruelling. Too right.

Eventually I returned back to the pen (not as bad as it sounds by the way). I was exhausted and wishing for a hero’s welcome or at least a drink of water. But nothing really happened. Happy music was not played while hands did not reach out to pat me on the back and crowds did not part to allow me passage. That’s life I guess.

Of course there was a bit of drama as I realised I had left my water bottle at the start. The inner conflict between not wanting to stand out and wanting to drink some water was strong. I decided to scrounge until I mustered the courage to go and collect it. My life is filled with danger and intrigue.

However Sports Day was kind of boring for me. By the end of the day, the only race I had really been interested in (apart from my own) was the final 4x100m relay, where some of the teachers competed. In case you’re wondering (which I doubt you are), Potter came third, with Harry coming last, Draco coming second and Snape coming first (again). Though we were abysmal at the track events, we managed to scrape third due to a good performance in the field events (unwatched  by an audience). Since last year we came fourth, I think that we’re slowly climbing up the leaderboard. If that’s the case, the next time we’ll win Sports Day is 2016. Brilliant.

Note: Most of the dialogue here was heavily paraphrased or changed because a) I can’t remember what was actually said and b) I didn’t want to name people. Just saying. :3

Joe

P.S. My next post will be about my birthday. :3 I may not post on the day (I will be at the house of some extended family members), but I’ll try as soon as I can. :P

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A quick update!

The last you heard of me, I left a cryptic post that said ‘something is happening’. This doesn’t really mean much. For all you knew, I was posting from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean after being kidnapped by teddy bear pirates wearing eye patches. Alas, this was not the case. I also left you with the word ‘abyssopelagic’, but this has nothing to do with anything – I just thought it was a cool word and wanted to share it. :P Incidentally, according to Wiktionary it means:

  1. Of or pertaining to the depths of the ocean; of the open waters of the abyssal zone.

You may have noticed it’s the summer. Or the winter if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere. Or maybe you don’t have four seasons where you live. Maybe you don’t have any seasons…

Ok, so it’s the summer in the UK. As usual, we complain how hot it is constantly and wish it could be Winter. When we actually do have Winter, we wish for Summer. We may not be the only country to complain about the weather, but it comes up an awful lot in conversation. Weather and tea are the things that binds all British people together in a mess of pessimism and patriotism.

For some reason, summer is the national season of getting stuff done that could have been spread across the year. People always leave the big events for summer and it causes a lot of stress. You go through the whole year and nothing happens and suddenly Wimbledon, the Commonwealth Games, the World Cup, your piano concert, my sister’s birthday, a trip to the Proms, Sports Day (I was actually in it this time!), a karate competition, Open Evening, a trip to France and the start of the Summer holidays are all within a season. I should probably make some sort of reference to buses here, but I shall decline.

I’m sure half of these things did not have to happen in Summer. In fact, the only thing that really needed to happen in Summer was the start of the Summer holidays. (The World Cup could have gone on perfectly well in Spring).

I wanted to write about these events, but there wasn’t enough time. The events piled up and I felt I couldn’t write about the new events without writing about the old events first, so the potential essay post got bigger and bigger in my mind. Eventually I realised it would swamp me so I’ve shelved it for now.

I hope I can write about these events in the future (probably in chunks), but if I do, they will likely be out of order and make zero sense. But hey, the important thing is to start writing again. :)

These events are actually pretty momentous though in terms of my bucket list. Now I have gone to an official karate competition and gone abroad for more two days without my family, two items on the list. As I said, I won’t write about these things yet, but I hope to soon. However I’m thinking of changing the list slightly. So far, it’s more geared to doing stuff than achieving stuff. For instance, going to an official karate competition didn’t feel that inspiring in itself – it was mainly a lot of waiting around, and very little karate. What the achievement should have been was ‘win a match at a karate competition’, or even more challenging, ‘win a medal at a karate competition’. Hence why the list no longer includes ‘join a social network’. I think I am at risk of putting reputation above actual achievement, which I can be very guilty of as I am a massive praise hog. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s a lot more meaningful to cross off one difficult item on my bucket list than five easy ones.

That being said, I have also completed a third item on my bucket list: gain 100 followers. :D

Now this is all kinds of awesome. Compared to other blogs around my *age* I have quite a pitiful amount of followers, but I guess I’m kind of to blame for that. Still, 100 is a lot! I mean, considering I’m almost as unsociable on the net as I am off it, I think it’s kind of weird I even have 100 followers.** :P!

Thank you. Thank you so much for putting up with my harebrained schemes and my tediousness and my erratic posts and my ramblings etc. Thanks for making the time to read (or not as the case may be, but to all the spammers and non-active followers, I like you nevertheless :P). Thanks for making the time to be sociable so I don’t have to. Just… thanks.

Talking of harebrained schemes, remember that plan I thought up to celebrate my blogversary? It detailed me changing one thing in my life every week so that I would be a new person in a year and it was kind of ambitious. It’s kind of worked, but kind of not – mainly because I am unwilling to give myself punishments and am finding it difficult to think of things to change. :P Again, another thing for another post, sorry about that.

I am now slightly under a week into the summer holidays. It’s flying by far too quickly and soon I’ll be back to my daily dreariness. My birthday will be very soon (yippee!) so prepare your presents.

Excitingly, I have also started editing my novel again after a year where I didn’t do much creative writing. Of course, I did stuff relating to writing in that break, like reading about writing and making some character biographies, but no actual editing of my first draft (which was by the way very very rambly). I was hoping to get it done by the Summer holidays, but I’m not sure this will be the case anymore. Even still, it’s brilliant I’ve started again, and hopefully I’ll be able to get some momentum running. :)

I’m not entirely sure how to end this, but I like the idea of ‘here’s a cool word’ becoming a feature. So:

*NB: these things did not happen in the order listed.

**To elaborate on this, I’ve kind of settled with my own small group of bloggin’ friends (most of whom have blogs a year or less old), and I’m always reluctant to make new ones. My blogging schedule has also been kind of erratic, which can’t have helped my rise to fame.

P.S. My room is also a mess. So much of a mess that I feel it would be irresponsible not to tell you. Basically lots of paper accumulated, was released in an attempt to organise it, and ended up just being left around. Maybe I’ll clean it up. Maybe. :P

P.P.S. My end of year exam results came back and it all turned out well. :3