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ELC Boston
ELC - English Language Center Boston
ELC’s First Annual Field Day July 18th, 2012

Its that time of year again. The air is warm, the sun is shining and water balloons are full. It can only mean one thing: It’s time for ELC Field Day!


The staff and faculty here at ELC Boston were all abuzz this past month in preparation for the most fun day of the year: Field Day. We all remember it well. That one special day where everyone gets in on the fun… Where the water balloons fly freely and your clothes are covered in dirt… Where you are split into teams and will defend your team’s color to the end!

The epic reality of Field Day was a bit lost on our students, at first. “But you play relay GAMES! With EGGS. And SPOONS!”

Blank stares. “You run around! There are crabwalks! Competition! Defend your color!”

After a fair bit of explaining, convincing, and coercing, we had almost thirty students sign up for what was sure to be the most glorious day in the history of competitive relay races.

We arrived at Boston Commons at about 4pm. From there, we split up our group in to two teams: Red vs. Blue . As Janet and I handed out scarves for the three-legged race student’s looked on in amazement at our raw excitement for the upcoming activities — nay — FUNtivities.

First up: The Three Legged Race. A classic! We had a little trouble with this race. Students did not want to use their new third leg. As a result, we had a lot of disqualified hoppers and had to restart with a very clear explanation. Students were instructed to start at the first cone, run down and around the second cone placed a few meters away, and tag the next team to run. The first teams to have each pair finish, wins. The Red Team wins this round! Red Team: 01; Blue Team; 00.

Next up, The Laura Amrein Relay, aka the Crabwalk. In this relay, students had to get on all fours with their stomachs facing up. Then, they place a soft ball on their stomach and had to walk like a crab down and around a cone without dropping the soft ball. We had some interesting interpretations of these rules. Some students thought this meant they could put the ball under their chin (sneaky!) or under their shirts (even sneakier!). We even had a few students try to hold on to the ball while crab walking. They soon discovered that “trick” made it a much more difficult relay. The first team to finish was again The Red Team. Red Team: 02; Blue Team: 00.

Our third game was the Egg Toss. Janet plays this game every year at her family’s Fourth of July party; hence it was near and dear to her heart so she explained the rules to the students. With a partner, toss an egg back and forth. After each throw, one person takes a step back so they are that much farther from their partner. If you break your egg, you’re out. The last team color standing wins. As the toss-off came to an end, one pair from The Red Team and one pair from The Blue Team were left standing. The Blue Team was really hoping for a win; but unfortunately, the egg hit the ground and broke. Red Team: 03; Blue Team: 00.

At this point, The Blue Team was getting pretty riled up. The Red Team had no right to win three relays in a row! “We’ll show them!” they exclaimed. Next up was the Egg and Spoon Race. Students had to put a spoon in their mouth and an egg on the spoon and walk around the cones without dropping or breaking the egg. Sure enough, The Blue Team dominated The Egg and Spoon Race, beating The Red Team by three people! Red Team: 03; Blue Team: 01.

The next relay involved blindfolds. One person is blindfolded and spins around in a circle three times. Their partner has to verbally direct them through an obstacle course without touching them. This activity was my favorite. It was a great exercise for the students to use their English and practice directions vocabulary. Also, there was lots of screaming. In the end, The Blue Team prevailed! Could this be their comeback? Red Team: 03; Blue Team: 02.

Our last relay was also an American classic: The Wheelbarrow Race. The “wheelbarrow” puts their hands on the on the ground while their partner holds their feet in the air while they run down and around their cone. If the Red Team wins, they will win Field Day! The Blue Team, however, would not let this happen. Blue won the wheelbarrow race and we had to break the tie with tug of war….

Did you know that an official tug-of-war rope costs almost $200? “Highway robbery!” we said at ELC. “Why buy a rope when we have perfectly good scarves to tie together?”


Did you also know that scarves are not very strong? Less than one second into tug of war, our scarf rope ripped right in two. The students thought this was hilarious, though the scarf owner did not. Laura A., I owe you ten new scarves.

Thankfully, however, we had a back-up tiebreaker. Laura and Melissa lugged two recycling bins full of water balloons over to Boston Commons from ELC. Janet and I placed one bucket on either side of the field. We explained that as a result of the tie, The Red Team and Blue Team are now at war and will have to settle this dispute via water balloon fight. The wettest team loses! Go!

There was a mad dash to their team’s respective bins. Almost immediately water balloons were flying around, hitting people left and right. As judges, Janet and I did not participate in the fight; but we had the grueling task of deciding which team was soaked the most. The Blue Team, undoubtedly, was drenched and The Red Team was crowned victorious! After a brief medal ceremony, we took a group photo and the teams shook hands.

This was probably one of the best activities I’ve ever chaperoned at ELC. The students really came together with their team, used their English to the best of their abilities and had an absolute blast. I would love to organize another Field Day and maybe put each grammar class against one another. All in all, it was a fantastic afternoon with a fantastic group of students.

Until next time,