Sports day

Yesterday was the first, annual (hopefully), Dept of Eye and Vision Science (EVS) Sports day held at the beautiful Sefton Park in Liverpool. We had 5 teams of 5 participants + family and friends for post-work picnic and some old school sports fun.

Throughout the evening the multinational basis of our students and staff was apparent with the representatives from Spain, Portugal, Italy, USA, Taiwan, China, Belgium, Slovenia, Sri Lanka at a disadvantage to the UK and Ireland people who had done these crazy games before!

Anticipation was high, and got even higher when the teams were announced. For context; I share an office with Dr Sajjad Ahmad, a consultant surgeon and clinical senior lecturer who, like me, joined EVS in 2013. We both have two PhD students that we are the primary supervisor for; Deb and Tiago with Saj, Lee and Valentina with me. Lee and Valentina were assigned to Saj for sports day, Tiago and Deb were with me. One more point of context; Saj is super competitive and had spent the preceding two weeks practicing his skills in egg and spoon, sack racing and wellie tossing (the office has been interesting).  There were also suggestions that he, Lee and Vale trained at the gym together after work… So, the stage was set for an intraoffice as well as department-wide competition. For my team, winning would be good, beating Saj’s team was essential!

First up; 3 legged race and while team Hamill celebrated their success it became apparent that the rules were “not clearly communicated” and we had missed the final leg. Luckily (ahem) only the organizers knew about this rule so the first round was declared void. Next; wellie tossing. Top entertainment was Saj throwing straight in the air for a 2 yard gain. Third the sack race. For “Sack” read yellow biological waste bags! Saj quickly got over his confusion of thinking you wore the bag on your head, but this delay lost all the potential gains from his weeks of practice! Massively impressive efforts from team Hamill members, particularly Karen and Tiago, meant we won this event and took an early lead.

The second set of events began with the bean bag on the head obstacle course. As you would, of course, have anticipated! Tiago seemed like he was born with a beanbag bag on his head, navigating leg one with ease and building an unassailable lead. This was further aided by Karen making use of her gymnastic skills in the cartwheel round!

Egg and spoon next and courtesy of a Dr Victoria Kearns special tea spoon it was clear that we were in luck – our egg sat perfectly between the curve and we could go as fast as we wanted without fear. This came into full effect on the anchor leg of the relay by which time Lee had established a healthy lead only to see Saj lose it all as I was able to storm past at full pace. Awesome, 5 events down and 3 wins for team Hamill, looking good!

Next was the wheel barrow race and many rugby training sessions have taught me the value of good technique. The result a big lead then an even bigger win for team Hamill as Deb and Jan also stormed their legs.

Things suddenly got dangerous. Egg catching and disaster! We broke ours early. However, that left us free to enjoy the spectacle of Saj launching his team’s egg full pace at MRes student Kerri (one of his teammates). Splat! Suddenly infighting in team Ahmad. Kerri got her own back (see photos bottom right and left!). However, despite the entertainment value, we had lost ground in the race to the title.

Two events left – water transfer and 5x50m race. The water transfer was tight and took a 27 person discussion to decide the winner. Valentina suffered for her team with a big fall (top right pic) as did Becky (middle left). The competition was hotting up. Our team struggled probably due to our cup having a bigger hole (we think Saj swapped the cups). Interestingly, it took Steph multiple runs to even realize her cup had a hole so we must have been at a disadvantage!

Finally, the relay. Lee and Saj were impressive and took the race for the team. We scraped in second; lots of training from Jan and Deb ensuring we kept it close. We knew the standings would be close but had we done enough?

The big reveal; yes, just, the team on Kevin Hamill, Tiago Ramos, Deb Scott, Karen Lester (Colin WIlloughby’s PhD Student) and Jan Harrison had taken the title by 1 point over team Ahmad.

The rest of the night involved some rounders, lots of eating and a skipping competition won by Victoria Kearns.

Great times were had by all and we will eagerly anticipate the next event and defending our title next year.

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