Defying Gravity

Classes are canceled, spring has arrived, and faculty, staff, and students at universities around this country thrill with excitement. In Chongqing, the usually staid and serious teachers gather out on the track in matching jumpsuits, waving banners and talking trash while they prepare to march before crowds of students cheering from the sidelines. Ride the wave of anticipation that resonates through the air as loudspeakers blare with spirited commentary and call out events—the long jump, the discus throw, and, always a favorite, the inter-departmental relay race. The Phys-Ed department invariably takes the lead, but Engineering, Administration, and Foreign Languages—with guest appearances from their star expat English teachers—are here to represent. Some, incongruously dressed in tailored pants and button down shirts, pump their arms and legs wildly as they race towards the goal. During the annual College Sports Days, no bystander can deny that enthusiasm rules the day.

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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.