It’s the night of Tuesday, March 3. The gymnasium at EARTH University’s Guácimo Campus in Limón, Costa Rica, is alive with peppy music, colorful lights, and school spirit. The middle court is empty, but encircling it are throngs of excited students, faculty, and staff. They are dressed according to their respective teams: Nogal, Cedro, Cusucos, Carey, Almendro, and Guarumo. They all sing their songs and get ready to showcase their choreographies. It’s the official kickoff of the traditional Juegos EARTH (EARTH Games)!
In 1991, José Velloso (’94, Brazil) and Manuel Aboboreira (’94, Brazil) approached Tobías Gómez, the physical education instructor at the time, to propose an event dedicated to sports and togetherness among University students. They referenced the games they used to play back home in their schools. Gómez thought it was a good idea: “We formed a committee of students, faculty, and staff, and we started. In the beginning, everything was simpler; it didn’t require as much logistics. Only students participated. But little by little, the staff and the faculty wanted to join in.”
On March 4, the entire campus was abuzz with athletics and the deep feeling of solidarity among the entire community. Various activities and competitions were held throughout the sports complex. In the plaza, a group of students played football. Others played Gol Mareado by spinning and spinning and, when feeling dizzy, trying to score a goal. EARTH Games also provides a space for creativity and simple fun. Over the years, more and more untraditional activities have been added to the schedule.
Each EARTH community member can choose the game that best suits their abilities and preferences. Some prefer brain-exercising activities, such as chess, dominoes, and sudoku. Some prefer to splash in the mud while playing Chanchoball as a team. Others prefer to crawl through the muddy “Laser Field”, while following a route marked with ropes. There are also those who prefer more traditional competitions, such as swimming, triathlon, tennis, and cycling.
“EARTH Games allowed me, as a staff member, to get more involved with the students, the faculty, and other colleagues. The experience taught me a lot about teamwork, friendship, and – above all – shared success. I didn’t expect my team to win, but to finish as champions was a great joy,” says Angélica Amores, a member of the staff team (Cusucos), the 2020 winners.
For 29 years, the EARTH Games have created stronger connections among the University community – providing a space for everyone to put aside daily worries and have fun while pelting pillows, traversing the track, and hitting a homerun. At EARTH, we promote activities that inspire perseverance, health, and camaraderie. We heartily cheer them on.
Long live the EARTH Games!
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