Hi! <Waves>

Funny and honest tales from a made-to-work Dad of three, wobbling, graying, and laughing his way through parenthood. Armed to the teeth with Nerf guns, full of pie, fighting a chocolate addiction, but genuinely honoured to be at least half of Team Parents (yay!).

5 July 2015

Sports Day

Boy8 has his sports day this week. So does Miss4. Great. Both during work time, obv, that'll go down well with the boss.

Mind if I sod off to watch children not compete against each other for a couple hours?
'If I had 44 pees, which pee would be next?'
Oh right... P45... Yeah good one... Ha... (Wanker).
<Fake smiles>

Still a decision has to be made:

a) Go to both.
This is possible, but harder to wangle (I like that word, wangle, wangle, wangle). But it'll be a lot of work time to make up, or holiday wasted used.

b) Go to one.
Going to one means that one child will be forever mentally scarred that their Daddy didn't come to their sports day, but did managed to attend a rival sibling's sports day. 

c) Go to none.
Tempting. But I like these things, they are always a laugh and quite a lot more fun than work. Plus they normally have ice cream all my favourite people will be there. 

I choose d). Yes secret option d) Go to the nursery one as they have proper races. 

Unlike the primary school one, which works so hard on making the whole of sports day non-competitive that it's... well there isn't any competition. It's just the kids playing with stuff, in an organised way.

They run through hoops etc. in their 'teams' for a random amount of time, then they all move onto the next activity. That it, for 2 hours.
There's not even Mum and Dad's races. Booo! It's a bit boring (Sorry Boy8... You rock though!).

I like watching people compete. It's fun. That's what sport is about isn't it?
Let's ask Wiki: (fount of all knowledge) (It's written by Stephen Fry you know):

“Sport (or sports) is all forms of usually competitive physical activity which,[1] through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing entertainment to participants, and in some cases, spectators.”

Yep! That's what I thought. Sports and indeed anything called 'Sports Day' should definitely involve some kind of competition. 

I know, I know, it's good really. The kids don't need to be involved in races that reaffirm their physical failings at such a young age.  No one needs to feel like they can't win when they are 5.
Better to wait for until they are teenagers, or adults, when they really can't cope with it and then smash their falsely inflated physical egos :)

How about letting them compete, but then make no fuss at all over who wins or not?
In fact, better still why don't we just randomly select a winner each time. 

'... for coming 19th, John Johnny-Johnson wins this bottle of Scotch'
'... for coming 5th, Sandra WinkleSmitheTaper wins this years free entry to the Pussy Cat club'
'... for not really trying and giving up halfway, Ivanna McDonalds wins this cabbage'

I arrive at Sports Day from work and head straight to the ice cream van and find Mrs. Amazing and BabyBoy1, who is delighted to see me, result! (He's now my favourite).
The races proceed, hats are blown off and it's all very good fun. Miss4 does us proud. Some children cry here and there, but mainly it is light hearted and fun. 

Until the Mums and Dads races start. At Boy8's school they do not do the Mums and Dads races as adults have been hurt too many times. It is too competitive and it's been stopped for the safety of those that compete and those watching. Fair play.

The organisers of the nursery Sports Day either don't know about this, or they don't give a crap and just want to see the parents in pain. (£10 on the last one).

The Mums race is first. There are two heats with a prize to the winner for each heat. Actual booze! Now that's a subliminal message you can be proud of.
‘Kids! Do sport and win booze! Your parents do!’

(If this was the prize, imagine the carnage… Go on.... Eww... )

Mrs. Amazing declines both heats due to a serious allergy involving something I couldn't quite hear. She pointed at her ankle a lot and then saw an old friend that she had to talk to immediately. Same happened last year, poor love, nasty those allergies.

There are two fallers in the Mums race. Two Mums so hell bent, or Mums around them, so hell bent on racing for real, that they stumble and crash into the ground. It really is brilliant to watch. You don't often get to see grown women run as fast as they can, and then crash. Beautiful.
But then because it's the Mums and Mums are nice, those losing the race help the fallers up and cross the line with them. That's nice isn't it.

Then it's the Dads race and the tone of the entire Sports Day changes.
It's still fun, but with a bit of danger. It's going to be a spectacle and everyone knows it.  
Dads around the playing field stop what they are doing, as they realise it is time. It is time to compete.
Sandwiches are put down. Phones switched off. Children handed back. Shoulder, leg and ankle muscles are quietly and casually stretched. Excuses are said. Lies are told.

'Daddy are you going to win?'
Hell YEAH!
It doesn't matter about winning...
<Rubs calf to wake it up>
... It's all about the...
<Does squats>
... part.
<Sit ups>

Oh! and you must look casual about it. If you look like you are taking it seriously by warming up, and then win, everyone will hate you and call you a competitive twat behind your back forever, for taking it so seriously. Of course if you take it seriously and then lose, you're still a twat for taking it so seriously.
All in all don't take it seriously, or do, but hide it really, really well. It's tricky.

Oh really? There's a Dad race?
I did not know that.
That is brand new information.
'Are those running shoes?'
They're for work. Got a... er... rush job on...
'They've still got a label on then?'
<Visualises the track in mind>

Slowly and as coolly as all the Dads can muster, we line up ready. Some remove shoes, seeing that other have trainers on. I have trainers on, as planned that was lucky.
I've been to these before and know you never go in the first heat. That's for Dads that have a chance of winning, Dads who have jobs involving something more physical than typing or answering the phone. Tossers Gym teachers, fitness instructors etc.

The last heat, that's my puppy, there’s my lane, the last heat is where I belong.
Luckily for me I WAS subjected to the scarring and mental torture that competitive Sports Days provide. I know my place in these races. I know where I am likely to place, and more importantly, I am fine with it. The good Lordettes did not see fit to bless me with sporting prowess, or even any basic sporting ability, no they went with other stuff. Like typing speed. yay.
Which is fine, really, only just not so fine on Sports Day.

So I make only two requirements of myself for the race, that as long as I achieve them both, I will feel like a winner.

1. Don't be fecking last. (Just no).
2. Don't fall over.

The first heat starts and as I watch 15 grown men run as fast as they can past their wives and children. It's really quite a sight. It's noisy and it's fast.
There's some actual danger here. If any of the men fall and get trampled, which they definitely would, it would hurt. Worse would be a Dad falling into the kids. Ohhh the mess…

(The Dad in front fell near the line)
(The guy behind him was disqualified for ‘limb chopping’)

There were two fallers in the first heat. Both limped off.
The winner gets his booze and looks proud of himself. We all hate him a little. 

I can't really remember much of my heat. It's kind of a blur...
I remember thinking I was running too fast for my own legs and they might fall off at some point.
I remember slowing down as there was jostling in front of me and I would rather lose than fall.
I remember the man behind me falling and the thud shaking the ground.
I remember exactly who I beat, but will forever, pretend I don't.

Then it was over and I didn't fall and I didn't lose.
Thank fuck.

I walk back to my family (trying not to pant, and ignoring the spots before my eyes). I pass one of the fallers who has mud all up his t-shirt. Poor dude, dignity wise, that's gotta hurt.

Miss4 smiles at me as I get back. She doesn't care if I win or not (which is BLOODY lucky for me).
'Well done Daddy!' and I get a kiss and hug.

Best prize ever.