Saturday, October 19, 2013

Korean Middle School Sports Day

On Thursday last week was my schools sports day. It was pretty different from the sports days I had in Australia as I was growing up.

Sporting Houses. 
In Australia at my high school, we had 4 sporting houses (similar to the 4 houses of magic in Harry Potter). They were Pegasus (white), Orion (green), Antares (red) and Phoenix (blue). The whole school was split evenly across the 4 sporting houses. Students compete individually and gain places (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and earn points for their sporting house. In Korea it's completely different, each home group class is their own sporting house and all the sports/events are team based, meaning no individual is singled out as being better than the others.

Sporting Events
In Australia at my high school we played a lot of sport. My school would hold a total of 4 sporting carnivals each year. Two major carnivals (athletics and swimming) and two minor carnivals (cross country and triathlon). In addition to the 4 sports days, every Wednesday afternoon was dedicated to playing sport which could also earn points for our sporting house. Here in Korea, it is just the one sporting day and there is no afternoon sport. Only the normal PE classes and a couple of after school sporting teams. 

Sporting Uniforms
This one was really different. In Australia our sporting house uniforms were very simple. Just a coloured shirt (white, green, red or blue depending on our house) with a small badge sewed on the front. In Korea... well... just take a look at the pictures below. There were some very weird and interesting choices of attire. 

The day began with an assembly on the field...

and a speech from the principal. 

And then a brief warm up.

As I mentioned above, in Korea students compete in their home classes. These are the home class numbers for grade 1 where the students need to sit. 

The first game of the day, dodge-ball with some interesting rules. Only boys can tag girls out, and only girls can tag boys out. It means the boys can't just hog the ball and, quite amusingly, boys will hide behind the girls on their team when a girl is throwing the ball. 

Second game for the day was a jumping wave game where students have to jump over a stick. See the video below. 

Next up, I was commandeered to be a judge for the 3 legged race. After much pointing and waving I finally worked out where i was supposed to go and what I was meant to do. 

And here is my awesome head English teacher who explained what I needed to do. 

Next up, jump rope. Teams have to race through the skipping rope. At first 1 at a time, then 2 at a time, then 3 then 4 at a time. 

Next up was the relay race.

Then a game of soccer.

Some basketball.

and some kickball. For any Australians reading this, it is kind of like baseball but instead of a bat and a baseball you, as the name suggests, kick a ball and then run around the bases.

Then, there were the dance competitions. Some of the classes had been practicing a dance routine which they then performed to unbelievably loud distorted music that was painful to listen to.  My favourite part starts around 2:38.

One of the classes chose to do a creative poomsae wearing Taekwondo uniforms. 

The flowers are out in full bloom at my school and the bumble bees are hard at work. 

While the principal was giving his closing speech I heard my name and the whole school turned to look at me and started clapping. I wasn't sure what was going on. I didn't realise it, but my principal had been watching me all day and was apparently impressed by the interest and enthusiasm I showed. At the teacher dinner that night he shared his soju shot glass with me and said if I ever need anything all I need do is ask him. 

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