The world is gathered in Rio for the 2016 Olympics where over 200 Nations are competing for medals. It is buzzing from Brazil but everyone looks forward to the Inter House Sports Day in Odogbolu, which some times doubles as a mid term day.
Just like the Olympics, it is impossible to cover every sport in a single day. There is usually some of the sports that are summarized during the heats. The Cross Country Race marks the beginning of the various heats before the D-Day. Team sports including Basket Ball, Football, Volley ball are rounded up before the D-Day. There is more emphasis on Athletics as such it gathers more buzz than Football.
Football usually takes center stage after the 3rd term exams where the Senior League is the talk of the school while the exam scripts are marked. We would talk about the Senior League later.
Back to the Inter House Sports (IHS), I remember a 10,000m race during one of the heats. At the blast of the whistle, one of the hyper-active dining hall officials racing for Chad or Niger house started with a sprint. He could only sprint for the first 200m before he was overtaken by those who knew that they would need to go round the track for about 25 times. He couldn’t even finish the race. Fun and shame.
You could see the excitement from the stands as the participants from the 4 houses raced round the track in anticipation of a top 3 finish. There were fans, babes and guys. You were running for pleasure, pride and enjoyment. There were glucose, water and cheers from the supporters. It was one vent away from the demands of class work.
The middle distance races (1500m, 800m) were quick but fun as well. The ladies were more involved this time around. The relay races was wonderful. Changing batons were key and the final laps were glorious. The 4x400m had to be done in the heats but the 4x100m was needed on the D-Day. The long jump and triple jump had their days. Events were usually classified into 4: Junior boys, Junior girls, Senior girls and Senior Boys.
The D-Day starts up with the lighting of the IHS torch. Yes, we had a torch like that of the Olympics. Each of the house have a matching squad headed by a queen and a king. Funny stuff. They were followed by the 4 heads – Head Boy, Head Girl, Deputy Head Boy and Deputy Head girl. The heads were usually dressed in blazers while the houses wore colours that matched their identity.
There were top dignitaries from around with the Traditional Odogbolu leader always present. Parents and Teachers were accommodated in the stands while the houses take cover in the canopies across the pitch. We usually had other schools participate in a couple of races. FGC Sagamu, Kings College, Odogbolu High School were regulars.
With the track well marked before the IHS day, sprint races were the toast of the day. There were 100 meters for teachers, parents, invited schools and others but there was none like the 200 meters Senior Boys and 100 meters Senior Boys. It was the climax.
How will I forget Stanley Inyemama and Ezekiel a.k.a. eshin in sprint races or Laro who was as quick as lighting especially on the 200m curve. Agbodidi, Lekan Kioki and Imam Idris made high jump look like easy. Julius won Golds for Cross house in throws. Shot-puts were like peebles to him and I believe the discus was like a dining hall plate in his hands. My sister even won a couple of medals from the throws. Some lanky Osun house fellow surprised himself with the javelin throw. Ooh the beauty of the missile in the air as it crosses our football pitch.
Others include Ogungbemiro John, Orilade Obahi, Micheal Elumeze, Deji Ogundele, Dipo Sodiya, Lekan Diya, Kufre, Utube, Yemi Babatunde, Salami Sodiq, Akolade Dotun, Aramide, Goodluck Otobo, Afolabi Kashimawo, Akinjole, Williams, Monsurat, Biodun Balogun, Chima Ananaba, Alex, Azeez lawal, Chidebere ugboja, Chuka ugboaja and many more. Do you still remember Ezinne Ogidi? Small and portable in size, Cross House’s Ezinne was the queen of the distance races. I can still her chants of “Ezinne! Ezinne!!” from the stands.
In the 6 Inter House Sports I witnessed in FEGO, Cross house were overall winners in at least 3. The excitement of the Olympics have triggered this and I wish I can tell you more – the training, the near misses, the tears.
How did you enjoy your sports in school? Was it as fun-filled as mine?