From the International Women's Day sports thingy I went to yesterday morning:
So, as you can see, I did not end up "just sitting around cheering," like originally planned.
Instead, they gave me a vest and I participated in the figure-8 jump-roping race, which was terrifying, the happy home-maker relay (think martial arts flower arranging, just lamer), and tug-o-war. When I say that the jump-rope was terrifying... I loved jumping rope when I was a kid. We used to get huge groups going in the playground at recess, doing double rope, double dutch, and all those random precognitive games that predict something like upwards of 20 children for each jumper. And the most fun was when you jumped into the rope, so I used to be pretty good at that too. I really should have made a video of the other teams doing this, but I was mesmerized by them and just stared. In a limited amount of time, you have to get as many people in and out of the rope as possible, everyone jumping once, then running off to the other side to start over again. They had judges counting. To give you an idea of just how much we don't play this game outside of China, some teams managed over 200 jumps, and my team had 44. Also, they looked like they'd practiced, and our team certainly had not. Even the other half of the team, which was all Chinese, got fewer jumps than us, I'm thinking cuz they didn't practice. But it was really fun and I'd like to get the hang of it.
The relay was one of the least gender-neutral events they could have come up with. When I saw them pulling out the aprons and handkerchiefs for this relay I started getting all self-righteous about it and was glad that I didn't have to do it. The costume accents were completely extraneous to anything that had to be done, but everyone had to wear them anyway. The actual race involved one person setting up 6 baskets, the next person filling the baskets with bouquets, the third person removing the bouquets, and the last person cleaning up the baskets. If anything fell over you had to run back and fix it, and everyone had to start by skipping through a set of rings. We were doing pretty well, but our last teammate forgot to jump through the rings, had a lot of trouble with the baskets (honestly, the baskets sucked), and even wound up bleeding profusely at the end of it all. Also a fun game. Just demeaning. International Men's Day would have looked nothing like this.
Then for some reason I was put on the tug-o-war team. This was fun, actually, and we did win our first match handily. But it was tournament style, and the next team was a bit more hardcore. It felt good to use those muscles, but now they're all sore. Also, I learned that one of my automatic reactions in a tug-o-war situation is to randomly emit high-pitched screams. Even at the time I could hear myself doing it, and wondered why. And then I'd do it again and wonder why again.
At the end, I got a scarf.