The Unique Ways We Do DECA: Exploring The 2019 Puerto Rico DECA Olympics
Edwin Sanabria | Puerto Rico DECA
Members of Puerto Rico DECA once again celebrated their Annual State DECA Olympics in the Juan Aubin Cruz Coliseum in Manatí, Puerto Rico. 2,000 members from all over the island participated in the many activities the event had to offer. From the very beginning, the opening had an atmosphere of energy and life. There was a grand parade featuring each region of Puerto Rico DECA. The entire colosseum was full of excitement, screaming as we said our regions aloud. Immediately after the parade, we sat and the the Olympics truly began.
As in every Puerto Rican event, there is always a protocol, they made introductions, made special mentions for people who worked hard for DECA, sang the Puerto Rico Hymn and USA National Anthem, and an invocation.. My personal favorite moment of the Olympics was an intense moment between the Arecibo, Bayamon, Caguas, Humacao, Ponce, San Juan, Mayaguez and Collegiate Regions on who could shout the loudest. The competition was fierce between all the 8 regions. For the first time in Puerto Rico, they introduced a commemorative Puerto Rico DECA Hoodie and the reaction of the audience was positive. This year there were many great players and each game lasted for a long period of time because of how good the teams of each region were. The game was divided in different categories: Volleyball, Pull the Rope, Egg Race, Jumping Rope, Hula Hoop, Spoon Race, 3 feet Race, Scullion Race, Jumping Bag, Bomb Race and Guess the Song. Some were divided by male, female and solos.
The games were intense, many people sweating, jumping around, screaming for excitement and many girls from the Humacao Region were making noise with silver spoons and trays. Every region has their own way of making the loudest noise which makes it even more extreme. This event felt like the World-Wide Olympics and the whole Coliseum was full of DECA members in different colors. Each region has an identification color that distinguish their groups. The coordinators of the event divide the rounds by region, and they decide who goes against whom. What surprised people the most is that they used the digital screens of the coliseum so that everyone could see which team and region were winning.
There were breaks between regions to give them the opportunity to have lunch and get to know one another. The time was allocated in the hopes that members from various regions and chapters could find commonality and spark conversation. Selfies and pictures from the event that following evening populated the DECA Puerto Rico Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, as well as numerous personal accounts. We also to solidify the friendships we made shared numbers for future events. Nothing to us is more important than sharing this experience with new friends. Sadly, last year we had a student that passed away. As I left the colosseum that day with my chapter I was left moved by the experience once again. For we only live once, we are young only once. It is through fellowship and shared achievements that we make the DECA experience real, make it worth it, and live in a way that leaves a positive legacy.