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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Running 4.9 kilometres

Today I ran 5k. Well… not quite. But that’s for later.

For a while now me, my sister and my dad having been going for a long run once every week. Our original plan was to do a 5k by the end of the year, but we may have to rethink that. :P We weren’t entirely sure that I could do it (ahem, asthma), so on Thursday we did a 5k run on our own. Luckily I did OK, so I was all good to go for the actual run.

When we arrived I saw loads of people I knew – mainly old teachers and various people who I’m no longer in touch with, but one or two classmates. I thought it would be really awkward, but I didn’t have much time to reflect. The organiser gave a quick talk and then we were off. My (younger) sister quickly rushed ahead.

On Thursday I paced myself quite well, but here I burned myself out on the first lap. You feel this pressure in the beginning to get ahead, so it’s almost inevitable. I was vaguely aware I was going too fast, but I kept going regardless. I have to admit, I got a bit of schadenfreude (how do you pronounce that?) from overtaking other people, so that may have contributed.

By the second lap, I was exhausted. I slowed down considerably, so the people I overtook got their own back. Eventually I settled at a pace just faster than walking. Even still, I made some progress. At the end of the third and final lap, I sprinted to the finish. Well… I didn’t really sprint – more jogged. But it sounds more poetic if you say sprint.

Unfortunately my sister, who had been ahead of me the whole time, someh0w finished a minute or so after me. We suspected something fishy happened, and we were right. Turns out I missed a bit of the course. Whoops. :P I can’t tell how much of a detour I took, because the pedometers me and my sister were wearing turned out to be pretty inaccurate. She did the whole distance and it said she’d done 3.11 kilometres. IT LIES!

On that 5 kilometre run on Thursday, guess what we were using to measure the distance? The pedometers. I guess in a way there is a silver lining, because it means I ran more than 5k on Thursday – so if I hadn’t missed that bit of the course, I still could have done it. It’s like that scene in Harry Potter where Ron does more than he’s expecting because he thinks he’s had Felix Felicis, but in reality it’s just him. :3 That’s nice isn’t it. Unfortunately I can’t find a gif for this (I am for pronouncing it ‘gif’ not ‘jif’, but it’s not really a big deal).

I will keep you updated on future events. I realise that this whole post seems in contradiction to the incredibly unsporty me that I have presented to you. Running is actually one of my better points, as it contains little hand-eye (or hand-foot) co-ordination. So fear not – I will not turn into some crazy sports-loving guy anytime soon. *shudders*

Coming soon… an in-depth look at a map. No. Seriously. It’s not even going to be an OT post. If not, something on the teaching profession. Or possibly something mathematical. I’m finding it quite hard to stick to a topic nowadays – I have tons of drafts. We’ll see which one comes first.

Joe. ;)

P.S. I suppose this fits in with my Lenten promise (bulking up) but I think it’s more ‘be healthy and exercise’. The latter is more appealing as it doesn’t include many sit-ups.

Operation Toothpaste II: Hobbies!

So I haven’t posted for a week. For that I am sorry. This was due to both my laziness and my busy… schedule. I’m not joking. July weeks are nightmares for my mum, who has to organize all the events that happen right next to each other. I may post about this tomorrow. ;) But I did have plenty of opportunities, perhaps especially for Andy Murray winning Wimbledon (77 years! I really should have posted, now I feel guilty).

So for this week I would like to have one more, dare I say it, foundation level of Toothpaste, before we get into the nitty gritty, the entertaining details. Though to be fair, a layer of toothpaste on which to build a house is pretty unstable… For those of you who don’t know what Toothpaste is, click here.

I digress. It’s time for…

Operation Toothpaste Edition II: Hobbies!

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