Posts Tagged ‘Ultimate’

Fairer Weather

Posted: August 1, 2011 in Life, Travel
Tags: , , , ,

My accessibility to reliable Internet has been on the fritz lately, I apologize.

Rain has decided to make a timely appearance to Xi’an, and I cannot be more grateful. An overnight shower brought the daytime temperatures down by a full 15 degrees, making venturing outside a lot more bearable. Having made a lot of new friends in the past few days, we made plans to take advantage of the cooler weather and go play some sports.

陕西师范大学老校区 translates directly as Shaanxi Teacher’s University, yet somehow is traditionally translated to Shaanxi Normal University. This archaic term for a training school for teachers is still preserved in China, but is hardly used elsewhere in the world. About two miles from the apartment where I am staying, its outdoor recreational facilities are open to the public to use. From soccer fields to basketball courts to swimming pools, just about anything (minus a climbing wall) is available.

乒乓, or Ping Pong, is an everyman’s sport in China; you’ll be more likely to find a myriad of ping pong tables than tennis courts in any athletic facility. The tables are cast out of concrete for durability, and metal beams are used in place of a net. Just bring your own ball and paddle, and you’re ready to play! At this school, nearly 30 tables were set up side-by-side, and every one was occupied. On a Saturday afternoon, we had to wait about 15 minutes before one opened up for our use. People take their ping pong very seriously here, yells of excitement are not uncommon.

Ping Pong Tables

On this trip, I brought along with me a few Frisbees *ahem* Discraft Ultrastars. Though none of my friends had ever thrown a disc before, either they’re really adept at learning new skills, or I’m just a really good teacher. We had enough numbers for some 4 on 4 Ultimate, and it wasn’t long before we had a nice friendly scrimmage going. A lot of them really took to it, and kids watching from the sidelines joined in too. Unfortunately we were competing for field space with a soccer tournament going on, so next time we’ll have to show up a little earlier to snipe the turf.

A prevalent problem in the United States is that youth are becoming more and more lethargic, becoming less inclined to participate in outdoor activities. Programs such as the Boy Scouts, the NFL’s Play 60 Kids, and even Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move Outside” campaign are designed to get people active and playing games, leading to a healthier population. This issue is beginning to come to light in China as well, as kids become more involved in video games, TV, and endless studying. I hope that by organizing twice-a-week Ultimate scrimmages for the rest of my time out here, I can get people excited about this fun activity, and maybe have it become a passion for them. I’ve already promised to leave some of my discs.

Underground Eatery

Of course, any afternoon of hard work cannot go without the reward of a good meal. 6 RMB (90 cents) for a plate of fried rice, plus another 6 RMB for ice-cream afterwards. I think I like it here.

Fried Noodles are available too

Not a straw dispenser, a chopstick dispenser

Dinner with friends