I was reading Alpha Mummy’s post on the subject of Sports Day and as my comment was in danger of being longer than the original post, I thought I should put finger to keyboard myself.
Although my son is now at secondary school and thus the purgatory that is Sports Day is far behind us, I do my bit as a Governor and still attend every year. This week the chance to join some friends for a picnic lunch during the day was a big plus point.
To be fair, the social aspect of the day was always the better part; very convivial to meet up with chums, spread out picnic blankets, vie for the best location for videoing the little darlings and soak up the sunshine (hopefully).
Watching my son try his best over the years has been a double-edged sword. Not a natural athlete, despite being as skinny as a whippet, he has struggled in every conceivable race, managing only two third places for “shell in bucket relay” and “bean bag in hoop” race in Reception class. From then on he continued to run vertically, bouncing along with no forward momentum. There was a travesty one year when I was convinced his team won the Space Hopper relay race but the judges didn’t notice so again he went home with no rosettes.
His poor showing at Sports Day was a hard lesson for him but he always took it in his stride and I’m still convinced that the competitive element should remain as children need to learn that they will get knocks in life and they all have some talents which will be rewarded.
In Year 6, helped by the fact that there were only 6 boys in the class and they could choose which events to enter, Rory chose wisely and he and his equally unathletic mate cleaned up in the Slow Bike Race. For the uninitiated, the race involves pedalling as slowly as possible but without putting your feet on the ground. The winner is the cyclist who crosses the finishing line last. For once, control and balance were rewarded rather than speed: like the steady tortoise they agonisingly wobbled for what seemed like an age whilst the over-keen hares had shot off too quickly and finished too soon. How satisfying was that. A similar cautious approach earned him a first in the egg and spoon race. Thank heavens they provided spoons for the children: in years gone by parents were told to provide their children with “dessert spoons” and there were some decidedly iffy spoons on show: some were verging on the size of soup ladles.
Competitive parents at Sports days are a nightmare. Over the years I have been cajoled into being a judge on occasions and the job is terrifying, especially when trying to decide places for the infants who all have a habit of slowing down at the line and finishing together. Get it wrong and you have the parents to deal with. Thank God I wasn’t adjudicating the year some blustering parents came into school the following day brandishing video evidence.
As for parents’ races, now and again I have entered, particularly if there has been an added element of chance: balancing a bean bag on the head before throwing in a hoop always appealed more than the three-legged race or a plain sprint. Some mums enter every year and always perform well: one was so keen she entered the wheelbarrow race in the barrow position despite wearing a skirt and showing her scanties to the enthusiastic dads.
My husband, having seen the injuries caused to eager parents entering sports day events, sensibly wore a suit and brogues every year then shrugged saying, “Oh what a shame, I’m not properly attired, will have to sit this one out”.
This year was no exception with regard to parental fails. One dad fell awkwardly in the sack race, forgetting to let go of the sack as he keeled over. His blokey mates had fun shouting “Hey, not so good in the sack as you thought!”. Not quite so hilarious when, having shipped him off to A&E, it was discovered he had broken his collar-bone and had to have it operated on yesterday.
Have you any good Sports Day stories you’d like to share?