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“Alright class, as I’ve mentioned, this activity isn’t about competing against each group. I set a reward for the fastest group but don’t focus too much on it. What I want to see from you are great cooperation and excellent coordination. I let you all create your own group so I assume that most of you are a group of friends who are already aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each member. I specifically prepared this with that in mind. That’s why I have high expectations that all of you can pass.”
After lining us up in groups, Eguchi-sensei stood in front of us and started going on about the essence of the activity she had prepared. As someone who’d seen the details of it way before the others, I naturally had the idea of what to do.
For starters, it’s like a relay. Each one would have a certain role to play. Like in certain games, it’s divided into three distinct roles
One for intelligence focus or quick wits
One or two for agility focus or quick feet
One or two for strength focus or strong arms.
And lastly, one all-rounder.
However, those roles would also alternate between members. For example, if I am in charge of ‘strength’ during the first round, I have to take the other roles next. That way, everyone would be able to experience everything in the activity. And well, I named it like that but Eguchi-sensei probably had a more detailed explanation about the roles.
Effectively, there will only be three rounds and the one with the fastest time and fewer errors would be the group’s final result. And even if a group was already satisfied with their first result, they still had to play the remaining rounds. There’s no skipping or easy way out.
Anyway, as for the actual rules or objectives of the activity, Eguchi-sensei was already about to get to that part.
“You can refer to this activity as Synergized Relay. Each group will have simple tasks to complete in each round. I say ‘synergized’ because I want all of you to squeeze every bit of compatibility you have within your group. Now, before I start with the specifics, Shinohara, help me pass the sacks to every group.”
Picking up the cloth sacks that could probably fit a whole person inside, Hana who’s now taking the role of Student Assistant in my place obediently did as Eguchi-sensei instructed.
At the same time as that, Eguchi-sensei started with her explanation of the whole activity.
“First, the first member has to run to the first post to draw and solve a math problem from that lot. Don’t worry, every problem in it is middle school level that it won’t be too difficult to solve. After solving it, the group's first member has to run towards the second post where the next member will be in charge of loading the cloth sack. The solution to the math problems can either be a whole number or a specific weight. You’re lucky if you got the former but if it’s the latter, you have to be a little precise.”
Pausing at that for a moment, she grabbed the weighing scale and presented it to everyone.
“I only prepared one weighing scale and it will be placed in the middle of the activity area. The second member will have the choice of either running to the scale to pick it up and return it after weighing the sack or rely on estimation. If you picked the second option, I’ll only allow a margin error of 1 kilogram. The excess or shortage will be converted to additional time added in that round’s result.”
“Next, this will be where your group’s synergy will be seen the most. Since every group is either four or five members, the third member will also be at the second post. He or she will be the one carrying the cloth bag to pass it to the fourth member who will be on standby at the third post, near the weighing scale.”
“Did you notice it? Yes, if the answer for the problem at the first post was a whole number, the fourth member only needed to count the content of the sack. But if it’s the latter, you’ll have to weigh it again. Those who didn’t rely on estimation and spent the time to get the weighing scale will have it easy.
“On the other hand, if it was estimated and you found an excess or shortage from the 1-kilogram error margin, the fourth member can either run back to the second post to bring back the excess or pick up more to fill in the shortage. Once that’s done, the fourth member will have to run back to the start line carrying the cloth sack before sprinting straight to the finish line.”
“As for groups with five members, the fifth member will be the one to do that last part. And to keep up with the group’s synergy, the last member in each group will also get the ability to help the first or the second post. However, this can only be done once per round. That member can either help solve the problem at the first post and run to relay the answer to the second post or carry the weighing scale to and from the second post. If that member ended up not using that ability, another member can help him or her by holding the cloth sack in the middle of the activity area. Obviously, that last member still has to carry the sack to the finish line.Upon concluding the explanation of the whole, Eguchi-sensei confidently smiled as she checked everyone’s expression. Since it’s an activity she crafted meticulously, it’s naturally adjusted to the point that if the one placed at the third post was like Aya who’s not that great in terms of physical fitness, she would be able to run that distance and reach the finish line without being too exhausted.
“What do you think? This activity will not only be cooperative but also hone your decision-making. Show me what you all are made of.”
Obviously, it sounded too complicated at first but Eguchi-sensei expected that. That’s why for the next five minutes, she took her time answering questions and clarifications about the activity.
Once that was done, our enthusiastic PE teacher had us clear the area for the start of the activity.
Ah. Right. She forgot to mention but the activity area will be one of the two basketball courts in the Gymnasium. Although it could be a little overwhelming to those who weren’t that athletic, it’s pretty much the best choice considering the venue.
The whole court will be divided by the three posts, the start line and the finish line which means every student only has to do a short distance sprint. Only the fourth or fifth member will only have to run for a full distance with a weighty cloth sack on his or her back.
“Alright. Since it’s going to be three rounds, I guess we just have to rotate our roles” I said after our group gathered close to the back of the crowd.
“I’m fine, whichever. Just don’t put me in the same role as this slowpoke.” Satsuki answered but then she took a jab at the poor, silent guy who was now the fourth wheel in our group.
“Huh?! I’m from the Soccer Club. I’m faster than you!”
“Really? Why are you not on the regular team again?”
As though he’s back to the same guy during the first week of this school year, Sakuma retorted. Unfortunately for him, Satsuki was just that vicious.
“Kuh! Hey, Onoda, can you do something with this girl?”
“Sorry man, you know I will always take her side.”
Well, in the first place, Satsuki could simply choose to avoid the post where Sakuma would be stationed. So yeah, there’s no point with that argument. The girl simply went back to her old habit to jab at the guy.
“Ugh. What am I here?”
The insignificant member? I almost blurted that out. But that’s the truth anyway.
“Uhm… Don’t mind it, Sakuma-kun. I’ll help you if we’re in the same post.”
“Thank you Rindou-chan, you’re an angel!”
“Of course, she’s an angel. Don’t worry, dude, you’ll be alone in all three rounds.” I patted the idiot’s back as I put on an unkind smirk.
I mean, think about it. There’s no chance for Aya to be in the same post as him. Even if I am stationed at the first post, the two girls could simply be in the same post, leaving him all alone.
As our conversation continued in this direction, the first group was finally drawn.
“Andou’s group of four, come forward.”
As luck would have it, Nami’s group comes first. Wait, will they be fine? Their group consists of my three girls plus Kikuchi…
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