You may think I lost my marbles when I’ve decided to join our company’s mini-Olympics last week. I received the invitation only about three days before the actual racing competition, while all others have started practicing way ahead. 🙄
Brief background: Annually, the SM Sports Festival Mini-Olympics is held for all branches (in NCR) to play in the following event categories:
- 100m female dash
- 100m male dash
- 10x50m relay
- sack race
- queen relay
The idea of taking part to be one of the representatives of Head Office was somewhat outrageous. Surely, I am NOT be the fastest runner out there, but the team could not qualify if it’s incomplete. No other female department manager wanted to go on in. (Every team must be composed of a mix of rank and file, supervisor, officer and managerial level employees — male and female.) I regularly run to keep fitness but not really for any competition. Nevertheless, I saw “some potential” in myself, as I’ve built a stamina that can endure pain and tiredness for grueling activities and demanding conditions.
At first, I was asked to be one of the 10 members of the 10×50 relay race. While other employees from different departments had to try out to enter, I was exempted and went straight to practice. Basically, there had to be 10 runners who would run 500m (50m each) throughout the race. Each runner would have to pass on a stick to the next runner for a turn to count. Directions were easy but running especially with pressure was no joke.
Our warmups consisted of running around the Rizal Memorial Track Stadium (the national sports stadium located in Malate, Manila) three rounds without stop. FYI, the entire oval measures 400 meters. Whoa, the sweat! 😆 I led some challenging arm, leg, hamstring, knee, feet and calf stretches that were unique from other teams’. We timed how fast each member run to track improvements in performance individually and as a team.
Later, I was told to shift to the sack race event because they still lack people there. No problem! Again, it was not that I’m an expert in sack racing; rather, it was more of me wanting to test my abilities and have fun in the process. (Note that I also haven’t jumped in a sack or pillow before.)
In the sack race, players have to place both legs inside the sack that reaches the waist and jump forward from a starting point toward a finish line. Similar to the relay race, the sack race was composed of 10 members, each having to complete 10m to pass on the sack to the next player.
On the Sports Fest day, together with my Head Office teammates, I left the office to arrive and get ready at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex early at 3:30PM. We wore our uniforms (white shirt with the SM Sports Festival Mini-Olympics 2013 logo), ate snacks and did our usual warm-up exercises side by side with contenders from the branches.
At 6PM, everyone was geared up for the elimination round. Rizal Stadium has eight lanes, and each lane constituted to one branch. Since there were 18 competing branches (only NCR), the teams were broken into three batches to complete a game.
The official opening of the mini-Olympics commenced one hour after. Flags were raised; the national anthem was sung; the invocation was delivered; the parading teams were introduced; and each player uttered the oath of sportsmanship.
What I loved most about the race was the camaraderie and the feeling of belonging. Even though most of our teams were eliminated in 3/5 of the event categories, we were still glad that 2/5 made it to the finals excluding cheerleading.
SM Sports Festival Mini-Olympics 2013 – What I Learned From Racing
1. Teamwork matters.
Running and racing with a team is a far different experience from running alone. Calculation is different. The thrill is different. There’s an urgency to perform better, and this feeling grows further thinking that everyone in the team should perform his/her best.
2. Losing is not bad as it seems.
SM North EDSA has been the winner of the Mini-Olympics for the past consecutive years. And it has retained its bragging rights for being the winner this year for the nth time. *clap clap* I saw how their runners really deserve the title. They run SUPER fast (like the Road Runner)! I didn’t see them as employees of SM then but as professional athletes! Anyway, the focus was truly to have a good time in “the journey” than any other I have experienced.
3. Finishing is what counts the most.
In relation to the second lesson, what matters most and what truly counts is finishing to the end. While knowing that we were already losing against others in the same batch in the middle of the game, we continued to run to the finish line without being discouraged. Ultimately, this represents an important achievement. Anyone can succeed with a little effort! 😀
I realized that I am very much in my learning phase of this sports, and I didn’t think before that running could be extra tiring. Additionally, now I know that running can be very useful in real-life scenarios… like going away from zombies, stalkers and robbers! 😛