Audio version of Sports Day: The re-run (mp3)
It’s that time of year again when competitive parents are putting their offspring through gruelling training regimes, while the rest of us are preparing to tell our kids that it’s not the winning but the taking part that counts.
Which, of course, is complete bollocks.
If you want to compete, then compete to win; but if you don’t have an ice-cube’s chance in hell of coming anywhere further up the track than last, then you’ll be far better off not taking part. How many adults suffer from lifelong lack of self-esteem brought on by ruthless PE teachers and sports day? The majority I shouldn’t wonder.
As mentioned in last year’s blog entry on this subject, Sports Day, our children were never likely to break our family tradition of coming in so far behind everyone else that you actually get a round of applause for reaching the finishing line. While Meg’s friends were covered in little stickers announcing they had come first, second or third in multiple events, my daughter was proudly displaying her stickers which said “good effort”, “good sport” and “nice try”.
I never have had a problem getting a good clear shot of my kids when they are running: photos are so much easier when they’re not obscured by other racers.
“Don’t pick up the egg, you fool,” yelled one competitive father standing beside me during the egg and spoon race, “kick it further up the track first – it’s faster!” I swear I saw another slip his son a piece of chewing gum just minutes before.
For every winner there are a dozen other children who have to put up with the disapproval of overbearing parents, or the humiliation of being left at the back of the field
Maggie told me she saw her old PE teacher in Dumfries the other day. “Did you kick her?” I asked.
“No,” she replied. “She may have been in her sixties but she still looked a lot fitter than me.”