Last night was open house at Ibri Stadium and Sports Complex for ladies of all ages. The aerobics teacher invited me to attend the festival so rather than sit at home and watch TV I decided to go. Every thing was in Arabic and I couldn’t really understand what was going on. Luckily, many young ladies in attendance were kind enough to translate and explain things to me.
At about 4:30 the games got underway with a short welcome announcement from the sponsors followed by a request for participants to sign up to compete in one event. At first, I just wanted to watch but in order to get a free souvenir t-shirt one had to sign up as a competitor. Well, I definitely wanted a t-shirt so I headed straight to the registration table without any idea of what to sign up for. There were two running events – backwards running and a 5-member relay race. The idea of running backwards did not appeal to me so I opted for the relay event. On hearing this, a couple of ladies asked me to join their team. I was pleased to be on a team. Little did I know that our event would be the last one of the night.
It seemed like for the next half hour every one was busy – kids running all over the place, moms screaming at children, young girls chatting, organizers carrying baskets, balls and setting things up in the center of the stadium and women walking around the track. The ambulance arrived with a male driver which created a bit of a stir – girls rushing to put scarves on. He was promptly told to wait on the other side of the gate until needed. The female doctor and nurse joined the audience. Bashra, a young nurse, along with her two sisters invited me to walk around the track with them. As we slowly walked I wondered to myself what ever processed me to come here this evening.
Suddenly, every one, including most of the audience, was summoned to the center of the stadium for 20 minutes of warm-up exercises. Thank goodness, we are going to start the activities. This was followed by a 15 minute break for juice and snacks. I wondered again what am I doing here. Over the next two hours there would be several activities such as hula-hoop twisting, ball throwing, basketball, etc. as well as a few more snack breaks thrown in for good measure.
Finally, it was time for the relay race. There were 8 teams with five members each. My team was quite confident that we could win. Actually, when I took my place on the field as the fourth runner on my team and compared my team to the other teams I was also sure we could win. I was by far the oldest member on my team but I was not in the least bit stressed about being up against younger gals. Let’s just say that the other teams had at least two or three ladies that didn’t look like fast runners. Anyhow, by the time the ball was passed to me there were already three teams ahead of us. I ran as fast as I could and handed the ball over to the last runner. At this point, I have no idea what our position was. Our fifth runner sprinted for all she was worth and managed to cross the finish line in third place. Good enough for a medal! And most importantly, a reminder that looks can be deceiving.
By now it was dark, the weather was cool and I was ready to head home. However, the event was not finished. The organizers insisted I stay for the closing ceremony and handing out of prizes. Twenty minutes later, with my medal in my hand, I climbed into a van full of exhausted but happy ladies who dropped me off at my door.