Once again Rangjung has played host to a sports meet, this time at the district level. The only lower secondary school to make the grade and want to compete against the older students from middle and high schools was Sakteng and they arrived early and played Rangjung girls on Friday before school for volleyball and during lesson time for soccer.
They put up a good fight against the volleyball team that won the nationals last year, but the Rangjung girls were victorious. However winning the football meant they got to stay for the rest of the weekend and participate in the real competition.
Since a lot of games had to be played to get all three of the cluster competition winners to play off in only 2 days, basketball was yet again scheduled for 5.30am. I missed both the cluster games as I am not an early morning person but I made a huge effort to get there this time, as the boys had felt hard done by being the only team without photos on the previous occasion. Despite arriving 30 minutes late with BST I managed to arrive in time for the start.
It poured rain and the court was deadly but the spirits remained high and the spectators undeterred. Rangjung boys were narrowly defeated and the highly competitive atmosphere for the meet was set.
It takes a huge amount of time and squads of volunteer student helpers pitch in to help those in charge and the counselors. To say nothing of the responsibilities female teaching and non-teaching staff undertake.
As usual our mess did itself proud and there were many comments from visiting students and the accompanying teachers, coaches and officials about how good the food was.
Law club took it upon themselves to provide ‘puris’ and ‘momos’ to the hungry in the between meal times and they had a steady flow of customers and a good balance of club members behind the scenes.
Traders also did a brisk business at the school gates and I estimate that there were record numbers of “bunking boys” from most of the schools participating, assisting the local proprietors in the bazar to increase their profit margins.
As always at these events I love the way those who are not genuinely interested in sport either as participants or spectators still find themselves plenty to do and willingly take on the many behind the scenes jobs that have to be done.
Parents who live nearby also took the opportunity to bring along “buckets” of food to leave for their own children as well as their friends. The nature club area was a family picnic zone buzzing with conversation and laughter on Sunday afternoon.
I encountered dozens of students sporting huge smiles delighted at the food mum had brought and the chance to see their own parents and family members.
The sporting events were hard fought and well patronized but the holiday atmosphere and general good cheer exuding from the campus was what I enjoyed the most.
Of course there were dignitaries and certificates and trophies to be handed out before the event wound up and I personally was thrilled to see those Sakteng girls with a trophy for the girls football. Now they too will get to go to the regionals.
My table tennis boys doubles and singles girl were the only ones to join the girls volleyball team in the line up of prize getters for Rangjung. All credit for the volleyball needs to go to Bidung LSS who trained them last year when they won at the national level and the TT players arrived in my team talented and committed…..though the ‘momo motivation method’ may have played a small part in their second victory this year!
I totally lucked out with my study duty falling on the weekend as the teams had already arrived by Friday evening and with students sleeping in all our classrooms it was not possible to have study on Saturday morning. The late finish on Sunday ensured that most schools stayed the night and that meant both evening and night study were also cancelled then. Three out of three escaped by me.
Nonetheless I did two 10-hour days photographing and spectating as did all other staff and those more closely associated with food preparation or officiating put in even more time. I got soaked to the skin in the morning despite having an umbrella and sunburnt both afternoons despite wearing and carrying sunblock but I still think it was a great weekend and a terrific sporting event, and there is always time for "One photo Madam!"
What a joy it was this morning when immediately after breakfast and already dressed in my traditional clothes ready for the school week to begin, a class XI boy arrived at the door to tell me there were no classes today, as we had all worked so hard on the weekend. Another arrived with the same message just minutes later and I guess the missed call at 10.30pm last night when I was pumping out zzzzzs was intending to convey the same glad tidings.
Now I have returned from school where all those interested were glad to see photos of their participation and I can nurse my “cough and cold" for the rest of the day.