Today was sports day. One of the highlights of the school calendar, apparently – a fact which is lost on me, somewhat. Of course, I wouldn’t dream of not being there to cheer The Boy on, but I’m always amused by the number of dads who manage to move mountains to take time off work for the occasion, and yet never bother to turn up for parents’ evening. Or is that just my husband? Anyway, I digress…
Now, neither my hubby nor I are the slightest bit sporty; the only sport my husband plays is ping pong. Competitive ping pong in a local league, no less, but still ping pong. And me? Well, I can just about put one foot in front of the other without falling over. So really, given his parentage, The Boy doesn’t stand a chance.
Last year’s sports day was not an overwhelming success. Clearly, The Boy realised that he wasn’t going to win anything, and as his attention wandered, so did his hands. Down his shorts. Where they stayed for the entire duration of the event, despite me getting redder and redder and frantically gesticulating to him to Stop That Right Now. Mortified, me? Oh yes.
This year, the only result I was hoping for was for The Boy to keep his hands out of his pants. If, in addition to that, he managed to roughly do what he was supposed to be doing and not injure himself or anyone else in the process, I’d be happy. After all, this is the child who, last year, was in such a dream world during his heats that his teacher resorted to yelling, ‘Come on, Boy, this is supposed to be a race!’
After an enthusiastic warm-up, it was time for the first race – a straightforward sprint to the finish. Now, our school diplomatically groups children for their races according to ability, but none the less, The Boy ambled across the line in last place, more concerned about presenting his best side to my camera than with actually winning.
Next up was the sack race – and yet again, The Boy came in last, having managed to lose a shoe inside the sack in the process. It’s a good job I’m not a competitive mummy, really.
The final race of the morning was an obstacle course. Given that The Boy manages to fall over thin air on a daily basis and comes home from school at least once a week with an ‘I bumped my head today’ sticker, I was not expecting great things. He had to go through two hoops, leap across some ‘stepping stones’ and then balance a beanbag on a tennis racket while stepping over a series of mini hurdles. He had, frankly, no chance.
But do you know what? He won! My boy actually won!
It would appear that there is a bit of a competitive side to me, after all, as I couldn’t help but puff up with pride as he crossed the finishing line in first place.
But what I was most proud of was the way The Boy – and indeed all the other children in his class – took part with such enthusiasm and good grace. There was no pushing, shoving or cheating, no tears or tantrums over races lost, and they all cheered on their friends with gusto. And while I’ll admit to being just a little bit chuffed that The Boy won a race for the first (and probably last) time ever, what pleased me even more was seeing him falling over the finish line in the sack race, in last place, but with the world’s biggest smile on his face.
That, and the fact that he kept his hands out of his shorts, of course…