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Sunday, May 27, 2012

sports and chocolate

Well, the school sports evening was as expected.
Probably worse than expected actually. Coming fourth in everything is pretty galling.

It was as usual, innocent excitement and hope, herculean effort and then tears, all eventually followed by cans of 7up, Moro bars, Magnum ice creams and crisps. Exactly what you would want to put in your child’s stomach before tucking him up in bed.  I think it is because at sports events, I really do empathise that I will buy them anything (well, anything in Centra) to make that disappointment go away.  I remember it so well, the anticipation of sports day, closely followed by the realisation that no, I was not so naturally gifted an athlete that I could win a medal despite having spent the previous year doing no exercise more taxing than sipping hot chocolate in the Pink Bicycle and browsing through clothes rails in Mirror Mirror and Ice. (remember Ice? It was in a little arcade beside Captain Americas. Great for batwing tops.)

It was usually the girls who were good at hockey (now that I think of it, they trained regularly) who won. Although they didn’t, to their credit, rub my nose in it.  The little winners at our sports evening the other night marched around the field, medals bouncing on their puffed up chests saying “Did you win anything?” to anyone who clearly hadn’t, and then waited to be congratulated by the parents standing around. I managed to be mature enough to do so a few times, (I suppose being aged between five and ten does give them some excuse) but then feigned deafness and eventually lured my lot away to the shop.

When I was a teenager, over and over again, my father extolled the long term benefits of team sports, which in my school were hockey, hockey and hockey. But I was not to be persuaded. I think what put me off most were the polyester bottle green gym knickers, the cold, the lack of boys and having to get buses on Saturday mornings. (What? And miss the videos on MTV USA? No way!)

 I did try being a spectator, and went to a schools rugby match once but none of the boys said hello to me (I believe they were looking at the pitch most of the time. It hadn’t occurred to me that that might happen) and no matter how artfully I arranged my school scarf or reapplied my blue Rimmel eyeliner, they were not to be distracted. 

I know one boy I had specifically come to “say hi” to was banging a drum most of the time, which seemed cool, but after watching him do that for a while I just got cold, bored and blasphemous as it would have been admit, I didn’t really understand rugby.

Hobbling to the bus stop in my pointy Simon Harts, my career as a rugger hugger was over before it began. I know for a fact that if I had thirty pence in my pocket, I would have bought a mars bar.

So I suppose that's what I've taught my children. Competitive sports are to be avoided and chocolate makes everything better.

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