TIANJIN (XINHUA) – On a pitch in north China’s Tianjin Municipality, players from two football teams with a 20-year age gap on average played a friendly game recently.
One team consisted of 15 graduating students and the other featured 18 teachers, all of them football enthusiasts from the School of Architecture in Tianjin University.
The football game, dubbed the ‘See you, My graduates Cup’, has been held since 2010.
It’s become a symbolic event for teachers to bid farewell to their beloved graduating students.
Members of the two teams shook hands, hugged each other, sang the school song and exchanged football jerseys and team flags before the competition started.
When the whistle sounded, the match started and players of both sides moved fast. Xie Shu, a member of teachers’ team, served as a right wing striker.
He received a cross from a teammate, controlled it and sent the ball flying into the net.
In the 90-minute game, the teachers’ team bagged a thrilling 7-0 victory over the graduates’ team. The players of two teams built a sense of camaraderie through the game, and still maintain a good teacher-student relationship outside the field.
“We organised this special football game for our graduating students, which can help them say goodbye to their college years and their beloved teachers,” Xie said, noting that this game marks the students’ entry to the field of life.
Xie participated in this football game in 2014 for the first time as a graduating student player. Now, he works at the school and plays on the teachers’ team.
“I have taught these students for five years. We have all witnessed the growth and progress made by one another. I can see the students’ spirit of striving for excellence when they ran hard to control the ball. I believe they have a bright future,” he said.
The 22-year-old Liu Xiaoyi, a member of the students’ team and also the captain of the school football team, said the pitch was a great way to mark his time in university.
“This game is the best graduation gift for us. Both of teachers and students are immersed into the game. The experience is really special for us,” Liu said.
Tang Weiyang, another member of the students’ team, said he was looking forward to the game for a long time and invited his mentor to join.
“Since I was ‘tortured’ by my mentor for revising my graduation thesis for a long time, I intended to take ‘revenge’ on the pitch, but in fact, I could not even catch up with him. I am sad to leave him,” Tang said. Vice Dean of the department of urban and rural planning at the school Jian Qingming and also the captain of teachers’ team said that the game gave him memories of his own time as a student.
“Every time I play football on the pitch, it’s as if I have gone back to my college days. I really hope we can give a good farewell to all of the graduates.
“We often care about their academic performance in class, but this football game is an opportunity to know my students on the pitch,” Jian said,
“We don’t pay mind to the results. What really impresses me is the camaraderie between the teachers and students,” Xie said.
Two days after the football game, the graduation ceremony of Tianjin University was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the teachers’ blessings, these graduates now have a chance to usher in the next phase of life.