It’s the school sports day season, but have #parents really got the stamina for it?
I feel compelled to write this blog after attending my children’s sports day today. It was a great event; well organised and thoroughly good-natured fun. This being said, I’m still utterly exhausted.
Why? Because firstly, there is the constant and ever changing conundrum of the British weather. We were drenched in a heavy downpour at 9am and remained slightly damp for the rest of the day (the children were sheltered under marquees I hasten to add). There was a brisk, chilly breeze that one wouldn’t usually choose to sit outside in for six continuous hours. For most of the time we were bloody freezing.
Yes, it was wonderful to see our little ones in their races, but I would estimate that this accounted for about 5% of the time taken for the total event.
We have a family picnic at lunchtime, which is undoubtedly the best bit of the whole thing. The sun came out at this point for us as well and it’s lovely to watch your kids running about freely with their friends. Although, I am aware that this element of sports day can be the most onerous for some poor souls. At my kids’ place, it’s considered posh if you’ve got Blue Riband chocolate biscuits in your lunchbox rather than Tesco’s own brand. Everyone’s pretty down to earth. Thank God. We do have teas, coffees and scones laid on by one of the cookery teachers, which would probably be considered wildly bourgeois in many circles.
But I do know that in some institutions, their sports day could give Royal Ascot a serious run for its money in terms of the incredible outfits worn by the ladies and the obligatory Fortnum and Mason champagne hampers strewn about the playing fields. This must be a nightmare for most ordinary parents. The pressure to conform a terrible strain.
Then comes the most dreaded aspect of all sports days. The mums and dads races.
This year, we had a tug-of-war added to the ubiquitous 100 metre sprint. Luckily, my children are sensible enough to know that the sight of me wobbling up the field at a medium jog wouldn’t do anything at all for their street cred, so I’m under no pressure from them to compete.
But the pressure is generated in spades by the parents themselves. Grown men and women stumble to the hard ground whilst running at full tilt to get the better of their next-door-neighbour. One year, a dad ended up in plaster. Not a great way to start the summer.
So, that’s my moan over. I love it of course, you never get these years back. But I just wish it could be a little shorter and yes, just a tad less competitive (in every respect) would be great.