Not foreseeing, of course, that years later I'd be in China, an employee of the Chinese government at one of their state-run institutions of higher learning, where sports day is a serious matter. And so we foreign teachers were asked to march in the opening ceremony with the the students in our department. I think this is because having foreign teachers is like having a nice sports car or something -- they want to show us off. We are not, with the exception of the young French teacher, an especially prepossessing bunch. But there we were, marching with our students, who were charming, or at least I think they are.
The real star of the show was the toddler-age son of another teacher. He has large blue eyes and curly light brown hair. The baby gets mobbed like Michael Jackson where ever he goes. The large crowd reacted with delight as this baby came in sight, carried on his father's shoulders as we joined the procession around the track.
The opening ceremony was impressive and clearly a lot of work and organizing and rehearsing went into it. Yes, it was a flat-out display of regimentation but the whole thing is humanized for me because some of those young people are students of mine, and so I know that they are all individuals with their own personalities.
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