Friday, May 3, 2013

농구대회 - The Basketball Tournament

I don't follow sports, but lately my Facebook newsfeed has been blowing up with updates from my friends in California about the Golden State Warriors and their performance in this year's NBA playoffs. Apparently they are doing very well. Hooray!

On a related note, this past week there has been a lunchtime basketball tournament organized and reffed by my school's students. And this isn't just some casual games of pick-up. This is a Big Deal. Five teams faced off over five days, and many students crowded into the gym to watch each time. Today was the final game, and it was class 2-1/1-1 versus class 2-3/1-3 (teams were mixed through class years, which is good). I estimated that about three-fourths of the student body was there to cheer on their peers, and as the game wore on, it become more and more exciting, especially since the teams were pretty evenly matched.

It was down to one minute left on the clock, with the score tied 16-16. The ball was taken by the offense, then lost, then picked up again, and finally it went to the yellow jersey-clad team 2-3/1-3, who hurried it to the far side of the court. They shot, and missed. Rebound taken -- another shot -- another miss. Ten seconds left... finally, someone picked up the ball right beneath the net and jumped... It went in! The crowd went berserk, especially the first-year girls. Soon, the whistle blew, and it was all over. A hundred students poured from the sidelines onto the court to hug and congratulate their friends. It was a fantastic sight.

I've rarely seen my students so excited about something like this. The power of sports to bring out so much energy, enthusiasm, and camaraderie really is unparalleled. So, I'm glad that this outlet for their daily academic pressure exists, for both the spectators and the players. The only drawback is that I teach class after lunch four times a week, and as a direct consequence of the basketball tournament, there were many more students late to class or sleeping through it than usual. I think I'll let that pass, though.

농구 (nonggu) - basketball
대회 (daehwe) - tournament, competition
체육관 (cheyookgwan) - gymnasium
화이팅 (hwa-i-ting) - "Fighting!", an ubiquitous Konglish term used to cheer your team on
나이스 (na-i-suh) - "Nice", which means the exact same thing in Konglish as in English (I keep trying to get my students to say it with a less obvious accent, but to no avail)
동지애 (dongjieh) - camaraderie
점수가 어떻게 되죠? (jeomsuga eoddeoke dwejyo?) - What's the score?
16대 18 - [The score is] 16 to 18.
이겼다! (igyeotda) - We've won!

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