Even though Sports Day was August 3rd-5th, we began preparation several weeks in advance. With the name “Sports Day,” you would think it would be a variety of different sporting events, but it was actually just running competitions: sprints, kilometer runs, and relays galore. The students spent one morning running in order to qualify to participate and represent our school at Sports Day, and then spent almost every single morning leading up to their event running and building up speed and stamina. The rest of the school, particularly the younger students, practiced cheers and dances in the afternoon that they would then recreate at Sports Day. My students were excited not only because they got to miss school and class, but also because they got to do something involving athletics, which is not very common at my school outside of this day. We do not have any sports teams or extracurricular activities involving athletics (with the exceptions of the gym class and the martial arts I’ve taught them), so these days were very special to the students.
I found out the last week of July that there would be a parade through my town of Tha Sala in order to mark the beginning of Sports Day, very similar to that of the Olympics. There were seven total schools participating, and each school would be part of the parade. My school decided they were going to have a Muay Thai demonstration within the parade and it was my job not only to lead these students, but also to teach them some basic Thai boxing techniques, as most of these students have never boxed before. Once the initial confusion of what exactly I was doing in this parade cleared up, we had so much fun learning Muay Thai and practicing for this parade! The afternoons working with these students have been some of the most fun I have had second semester.