PAIGE 144 - SPORTS DAY

Well, Mary and I went down to the reserve before lunch, and I was saying to her that since this is such a large reserve, I might let her off manual control for a while, but only if she promised to be very very careful. She said I will Livi, and since she has in fact been behaving very well, when we pulled up in the parking area, I switched her over to Mary Control mode. I said well Mary don't freak anyone out today ok? She said ok, and then I jumped in the passenger seat and she drove up to the reserve, and parked in the place where all the food stalls were for the Triathlon, that's where she watched the events from when that was on.

Except when we got there they had all these banners out and a pile of boxes much smaller than the ones I asked for, and I was a bit disappointed. I mean I know that there are miniature versions of everything nowadays, but marimbas are pretty standard-sized as far as I thought. So I got out, when suddenly everybody said HAPPY BIRTHDAY! and La Cucaracha rang out loud and clear behind me. I stood there for a moment and said wait isn't this a sports day? They said yes, however it's one and the same thing: for your birthday we've organized a sports day! "Happy birthday," came another voice behind me, and I turned to see the M flash her lights. I said "thanks Mary, look at all these people! It's nice they thought to organize a birthday party for me, don't you think?" Mary said it was very nice of them, whoever they were obviously thought very highly of me. I smiled a lot, and met the DL, Clan Routine Poutine, plus a few others. Pita was there, plus some people from the spire, and we talked for a while before anything began. Then I said to them, I hate to break the news, but the boxes you have stacked there aren't going to be big enough, I specifically said marimba-sized. They said oh don't worry those aren't for the sports day, those are your gifts. I did a double-take. There were literally about thirty of these things, boxes all kind of rectangular and roughly the same shape. I lifted one up and said wow that's heavy. How on earth can I accept these many gifts? I'm very humbled. What a start to the day!

Then the fun began. I said now for the first event, Livi Boxing. Bring me the marimba-sized boxes and paint. So they did. Now you all know each other here, right? Break yourselves up into teams of four. They did. And most people stuck to their friendship groups, and what I did, while laughing to myself all the time, was go through and find the sportiest, most athletic group, and singled them out. There were a group of four men, clearly athletes who were going for The Schwarz look. I said congratulations, you win. They said what did we win? I said team division. Now each of you are captains of your own team, and will fight against one another. All the Russians present laughed. I said now you four represent the four teams that will play against each other today. The rest of the Russians will be your team to pick. One of the muscular guys said oh yep let me choose first please let me choose first. I said to the guy asking, sure thing, however you must first be blindfolded for about twenty minutes, and then you may choose your team. Now the fun began. I said to all the rest of the Russians, congratulations, you may now commence boxing. They said what? I said each grab a big fat box and paint it however you like. No words allowed. So they all painted. Then I said very good. Now climb into your boxes and close the lid. Disqualificators, unblindfold the Russians. Now, unblindfolded Russians, pick your team! They looked out over the sea of boxes. All the disqualificators laughed. I said what is your tactic? One of the Russians started to cry.

Their tactic mostly consisted of picking boxes at random. Ones with footballs stood out more often than not. What was hilarious was watching them think they found someone they knew, only to find out it was someone entirely random. Once the four teams were assembled, I said to them, now: Livi Hurdles. Disqualificators, please line up the boxes so as to form rows of hurdles every ten metres along the sprint course you have marked out with line paint. Now two teams will face each other at once, one at either end of the track. When the La Cucaracha plays, each team will run towards the opposite end, meeting, and crossing, and possibly colliding with the opposite team, all the while jumping hurdles. Whichever team reaches their end first as a collective team, wins. To make it more interesting, each team member has whacking bread. They played, and it was like the most uncoordinated jousting match ever seen.

After this, we had Livi Chairs, which is a regular game of musical chairs. Except there are four teams, and the music is La Cucaracha on repeat. And the goal is to steal as many chairs from each quarter as possible, while only carrying one at a time. Also, a team leader runs about, tagging enemy players. If tagged, the player sits down on the spot and cannot move for the rest of the round. Each round ends whenever the La Cucaracha decides to stop playing; each player sitting may then stand and resume when the music plays. Whoever has the most chairs in their quarter wins. There are ten rounds. Players are untaggable in their home quadrant. Referees have water pistols.

Livi Archery was in fact the last game of the day, because we ran out of time, and I was very sad. Kingsley however seemed happy that his favorite game was not going to be ruined. I said well chess is safe for another day. Livi Archery is very similar to paintball, only with bows and celery, since they didn't have ball-tipped arrows. I said first have a practice shot, so they all drew their bows. I said fire at will! and they all turned to this guy and lobbed him with arrows. As an aside, mothers and fathers of the future, if you think your child may be involved in archery in the future, William may not be the best name.

I said now each team has a quarter of an hour to build a fortress with the used boxes, after that the game begins, and goes until all flags are captured but one, that team wins. By flag I mean whacking bread with a polo jersey on top. So the teams built their fortresses, secured their whacking bread, and lo the game began. The team who won actually did a surprise move, they hid the whacking bread inside a box and had four team members stand with their backs to one another and hands behind themselves looking like they were hiding something. The rest of the home team worked like mad to protect these four, and none of their enemies had any clue their whacking bread was in a box. So they won. I said congratulations, you win!

Also, I felt like I won, even though I didn't play. Everybody, thank you so much for making such a great birthday for me. Whoever organized it, you have my undying thanks. And also whacking bread, because there was lots of leftovers since we didn't play Livi Chess.

- Livi.