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September 30, 2006 - Guyuan, China

Yi Zhong Sports Meeting

The starting blocks

After a week of serious anticipation by the students and the teachers Sports Meeting was cancelled.

It was going to be a three-day week. Sports Meeting was to commence on Thursday and go until Saturday - running nicely into the week vacation ahead.

In retrospect, the teachers were even more excited than the students to not have class, and you could see the pained look in their eyes when the administration dropped the bomb.

Thursday rained. And rained some more.

It was looking pretty grim for Friday - more rain - but the headmaster, possibly smelling revolt in the air, let the games begin.

The rain didn’t dull any spirits as the students jump-roped, shot baskets, ran whole class sack-races, lasered penalty shots and threw shot-putt. Even with all the competition you could sense the feeling of release from both sides of the teaching podium. Release from 10PM classes and late night studying and 6AM flag ceremonies and over-worked teachers and rambunctious students.

I quadrupled my weekly ration of “Hello Mr. Allisters” and my face hurt from smiling so much. My celebrity status reached a new level as - against my protests, honestly - I was issued an umbrella lackey. The poor kid actually seemed pretty happy to walk around beside me carrying an umbrella for me.

Saturday was even better as the sun came out for the first time in a week.

Too bad Sports Meeting is only twice a year - it would do everybody involved a load of good.

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Tumbleweeds... and no comments. How 'bout livening things up?

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