In our school, they don't put too much emphasis on sports. I learned this when we tried to organize a girls' soccer team at the beginning of the school year. The girls were interested but not the school.
Only about fifteen students---of the over one thousand in the school---participate in "atletismo" (running, or track and field). Most of the boys do soccer or basketball. The girls do volleyball or gymnastics or basketball.
For now, I run on the track after school with the atletismo group. I got chosen for track because we had a gym class where we had to run, with the same atletismo teacher, and she asked some of the runners to join track.
I would also like to do basketball to improve my dribbling and shooting skills. Because I am taller than most of the other girls, the coach wants me to join the basketball team, but I'm too busy.
With track, we finally had our first competition last week. It was at a different school---the one Dad went to when he was in third and fourth grade! It is called Saint George, and our teacher said it is a very good sports school. And it is.
I thought we might have a chance of winning something, but after I ran in the 60-meter race and came in last, I knew that the girls from the other schools trained a lot more than we did. In fact, all the kids from my school came in last place of almost everything they entered. Two of the boys even dropped out of the 800-meter race half way through it.
The other schools have all the equipment they need to train. There wasn't a single kid who didn't have track spikes (shoes with spikes on the bottom).
The teacher told me that I should do the long jump because I can jump the farthest in my school. But at Saint George, I was jumping against girls who were VERY well trained. They were all doing the correct exercises for warming up before each jump. I didn't even know about those stretches and exercises.
In the end, the farthest jump in the competition was 4.9 meters (about 16 feet). My farthest jump was 3.5 meters (about 11.5 feet). Here I am, landing (not very well!):
The competition was called "Copa Soprole" ("Soprole Cup"). Soprole is a brand of milk and yogurt here.
We didn't stay long enough to see who won what in every event, but we watched some older students jumping hurdles. They looked like they were running faster than a car! You could tell how much they had trained. Here is a photo of some of the participants:
When we walked into the Saint George school, we were gaping and staring. It has tons of small buildings, one for each class, and lots of trees (Dad says that he planted one of those trees on Arbor Day, in 1972!).
There are several soccer fields and basketball courts, a gym, and a path that leads to more trails on a hill, not to mention the huge track where we competed and that includes an area with lines to measure how far the athletes throw the shot put.
The next day, it was Mom's turn to be an athlete. We all got up early and went to a park near the apartment, where the 5-kilometer and 10-kilometer races were taking place.
There were many kids, though only children over age 8 were allowed to compete. The race had 3,000 people running, more than half of them the 5K and the rest the 10K. Mom ran the longer distance.
We were at the Finish Line waiting for the 10K runners. Many men came in first, and then someone announced, "Here comes the first woman for the 10K!" I knew it was probably Mom's friend who is a good runner, but then...it was Mom! You can only see her head here:
Everyone was patting her on the back and congratulating her.
When they gave out the trophies, Mom went up twice because she was the first woman overall, and the first one in her age group. They gave her bottles of Gatorade and two trophies.
They also had a raffle at the end of the race, and Mom won a sports bag, more Gatorade, another bag, running socks, and a nice running shirt. It was a good day for her.
After the race, a friend who also ran invited us to have breakfast at a great French café called La Chocolatine.
We had a wonderful raspberry juice, coffee, a mini baguette, a regular croissant, and a sweet-almond croissant. It was one of the best brunches I've had in my life.
Learning a second language sometimes creates confusion. You think in one language but speak in the other. RJE and I are starting to say some very weird Spanglish mixes, like "She borrowed me her jacket" and "They are hotting up my sandwich."
Also: "The cake I made stayed awful," instead of saying, "The cake I made didn't turn out right." And: "My friend's puppy has one year," instead of "My friend's puppy is one year old."
This happens because the sentences come out in English, but are translated directly from Spanish, so the meaning doesn't sound right.
It will be even worse when I learn French (I want to learn to speak French, too). So far, I have tried some computer programs to learn French, but I repeat the words as if I were speaking Spanish. It's very confusing, like having to memorize three different plays at the same time and getting all the lines mixed up.
The snow on the mountains is almost gone. We were thinking about going up there to try to ski, but I didn't really want to. One of my friends told me she went once in a car. They drove up a windy road, around and around forty curves, to the top of the mountain---where she threw up.
Also, you can get hurt very badly if you fall skiing. We saw many people wearing casts on their legs during the winter. Mom wanted to go skiing. She is the only one in the family who has gone before, but it looks like she missed her chance. The winter is over.
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The RatSoap™ Project is a work in progress, 2006-2007