Saturday, March 27, 2010

Get ready, get set, ALU!

Photo: Students from GPS Matamaka, Lape, and Nuapapu sprinting towards the finish line.

We just wrapped up a successful Outer-Island Sports Day at the neighboring village of Nuapapu on Friday, March 26, 2010. In Tonga, “Sports Day” only happens once a year. It is an event where all the GPS schools come together and compete in athletic events such as: relays, tug of war, potato sack races etc. Unfortunately, the outer-island schools generally do not get to participate with the rest of the schools in town. As a result, the outer-island schools have created their own Sports Day. It all began last year when GPS Matamaka hosted the first ever “Outer-sland Sports Day Invitational.” The only participant was GPS Nuapapu. The event was a huge success that GPS Nuapapu hosted the event this year. GPS Lape was the newest member to participate this year.

Photo: The opening ceremony of Sports Day with all of the participating students.

The students of GPS Matamaka have been training for Sports Day for the last three weeks. Ma’asi, Soane, and I have been busy teaching the students the best techniques in potato sack racing, spoon racing etc. It has been a blast working out with the kids for one to hours after school with various cardio and stretching exercise. They have all worked really hard and it has paid off tremendously.

We all left Matamaka around 8:30 AM for Nuapapu via boat. The event was scheduled to begin at 9:00 AM, but in Tongan time it really means 10:30 ish. After the prayers were done and welcome speech from the Nuapapu town officer, the games finally commenced. I was in charge of the finish line and handing the top three winners their “ticket” to be given to the official score keeper. All of the other teachers helped with the starting line or organizing the next event. Surprisingly, the entire event went very smoothly. I anticipated some sort of disorganization of some sort to arise, but I underestimated the event organizers too soon.

Photo: Action pics from Sports Day.

My favorite events would have to be the tug of war and potato sack races. GPS Matamaka ended up beating both schools at the tug of war and the students were absolutely ecstatic about it! On the other hand, Nuapapu overall did a better job with the potato sack races; however, it was priceless to watch all of the class one to three students race for the finish line. They were so cute with their little hops and big smiles.

Photo: GPS Matamaka with the before and after picture of the tug of war event. You can see it in their faces how bad they wanted to win the event. It was absolutely priceless.

Although GPS Matamaka received second place overall in the Nuapapu Sports Day Invitational (off by a mere four points), the students competed very well and showed great sportsmanship. It did not really matter who won or lost during Sports Day. In the end, everyone was a winner for participating and giving their heart out for all of the events. Next year GPS Matamaka will once again host the Outer-Island Sports Day Invitational. We will have a DJ and invite GPS Ovaka. As a result, that would complete all of the villages in the immediate surroundings around Matamaka. GPS Matamaka, Lape, Nuapapu, and Ovaka will be the four schools that will hopefully take part in the 2011 Outer-Island Sports Day.

Photo: We are the champions. GPS Matamaka after the closing ceremony.

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