Saturday, May 5, 2012

Game Day

Today, I finally found out first-hand what Game Day at my school entails.  I’d heard bits and pieces.  I knew what to expect.  It was a field day.  The students came for a half day only, with no classes.  They were all divided up into teams, and each team was a different color.  Students came wearing their team color.  I knew there would be wacky games; my principal told us to come dressed comfortably—jeans, shorts, whatever—because there would be water and flying food.  Family reunion games. 

And that’s just what it was.  The students filled the bleachers, seated by color (which made for a pretty cool image).  For each game, our principal would announce the name, and then say how many team members were needed from each team (usually 10-12).  The games ranged from wheel barrow relays and piggy-back relays, to tug of war and a dance competition. 

1/2 of the students, seated by color.

Shoe rally.  All the shoes in one big pile.  Find your shoes and run
back to your teammates.

The dance competition was perhaps my favorite.  It was like being transported to Rydell High—minus the hand jive.  Each team sent out a boy and a girl to act as a couple.  Mr. Mendez acted as judge, walking around and tapping couples he deemed to be “out.”  A variety of music was played.  First pop-style songs; the type of thing you hear on the radio.  One reggaeton song came on and lasted maybe 15 seconds before it was nixed—because there is only one real way to dance reggaeton, and it’s dirty.  As each song changed, the students changed their style of dance with it.  Slow, fast, dancing together or apart.  But what really made me grin was that unlike in the States, these students also danced salsa, bachata, and merengue.  It’s a part of culture that I feel like we lost at home back in the 50s (or maybe later—but before my time), and I love that dance is such an important part of life here that all kids grow up knowing how to dance “real dances” (like those mentioned above—dances in which the man leads and the girl knows all the steps to follow along). 

Free style

Bend those knees and move those hips.

Game Day ended with the water balloon relay.  Each student had to run across the gym, pop a water balloon over their head, run back, and tag their teammate.  All that water on the concrete gym floor made that part of the floor as slippery as an ice rink, and I’m surprised no one seemed to get hurt.  It was good entertainment, for sure, watching them slip and slide and struggle to pop unwieldy balloons over themselves.

Some balloons just didn't want to pop.

In the afternoon, the teachers stayed and met in the library for a teacher appreciation get together.  Food and drinks were provided, and a stereo system was set up to play music Puerto Rican style (in other words, loud enough to make holding a conversation with the person next to you difficult).  It was an enjoyable, relaxed afternoon, and we all went home happy to begin our 3 day weekend.  

Three amazing teachers!

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