Remember my Blog Post late last year about the Inauguration of Fútbol Teams at the start of a fútbol (soccer) league’s season?  Well, each school in Ecuador has an Inauguration of Games as well to kick off their season of competition between classes.  
Larger schools include games in fútbol, volleyball and basketball.  For the past two years, I’ve witnessed this huge event at my large school, Teodoro Goméz de la Torre.  You can revisit 
that post titled “Other Teodoro Happenings” in February 2019.
Although smaller schools only field fútbol teams, they kick off their sports season with an equally exciting celebration.  This year, I took part in the event at my small school, Agustín Cueva Dávila.  This year, each class chose a country to represent, and then the class president collected money 
from each student to design and order a special uniform for their team.  
This 5th Grade class represented Spain.
These 8th Graders represented Senegal.
A 9th Grade class invited me to join their Team for Egypt. 
Another 9th Grade class represented Panama.  Notice that each of these teams have 
a Madrina, or Maid of Honor, in full costume representing the culture of their chosen country.  
They also have a mascot, such as this panda bear, just for fun.   
The Madrinas, of course, are a big part of the show, and everybody was helping them 
with final preparations in the parking lot outside of the stadium. 
A 4th Grade Madrina for Paraguay
A 3rd Grade Madrina for South Korea
 A 1st Grade Madrina for Mexico 
The Madrina for Turkey and the 10th Graders
Juniors Christina and Adely stole the show as the Guacamayo Bird and Madrina for Brazil.  
Mascots are also a big deal, and usually involve a big furry costume.  
Sometimes Dads need to step into mascot duties for the preschoolers. 
Finally, when all were ready, we paraded onto a community soccer field as each class, 
or team, was announced. 
Next, one representative from each team was selected to run the Olympic torch
around the stadium.  
They even had a cauldron to light afire in the far corner of the park.
It was all very exciting when the games were declared to begin.

Then, the judging started.  First all the Madrinas lined up and received a small prize.  
Next, representatives from each team showed off their special uniforms for inspection.  
The 5th graders for Paraguay in the striped uniform were deemed the winners 
and they won some school supplies for their class.
After that, the mascots came forward.
The finalists had to dance for the judges in order to determine the winner.
The Condor of Ecuador representing a class of 6th Graders took the prize.
Then, the field was cleared for an athletic demonstration of karate… 
and a group of dancers showed off their traditional moves. 
Finally, to end the ceremonies, each class paraded off the field to the cheers
of their parents.  
6th Graders representing Japan
7th Graders representing Uruguay
In the following days, many classes were cancelled as each class fielded a girls team and a boys team to play soccer against other classes in our school.  Sports are a big part of the culture here in Ecuador and are seen as an equally important part of the curriculum teaching students good sportsmanship, healthy habits and the importance of being a part of something larger.
My Team Egypt didn’t do so well in their games, but it was fun for me to be
a part of their fan club!