Losing At Sports Day

When I was in primary school, we had a sports day every year. I wasn’t a sporty child so I’d usually be in the egg & spoon race or the three legged race or maybe the skipping. I specifically remember one year when my mum had said she’d come to watch me (she always came to these sorts of things if she could) but I think she had work that day and so was trying to get off early.

Now as I already mentioned, I was not sporty – I’m not particularly sporty now but back then I was worse. And this sports day was going terribly for me. I can’t remember all the details of why, but I probably lost a race and my friends maybe disappeared somewhere? But mainly, I couldn’t spot my mum amongst the sea of parents. Where was she?! So there we were at the starting point for the skipping race and I was remembering exactly how much I did not want to be in the skipping race. I think I was on the verge of tears; I was never far from tears when I was young.

They blew the gun or the whistle or whatever it is that signals the start and off I went, skipping terribly along while all the others skipped off into the sunset. I wanted so desperately to do well but it was never going to happen. I got about halfway (if I was lucky) down the track when I glanced over to the parents, probably hoping for a glimpse of my mum even though I was convinced she had ditched me for some unknown reason, when who should I see walking across the playground? My mum. Obviously she was here. As if the angel Gabriel himself was coming towards me I couldn’t think of anything else. I thought “fuck this race”, but in more P.G tones of course, and I dropped my skipping rope and ran across the grass, across the playground, tears now streaming down my face and into the glorious arms of my waiting mother. What a moment.

I mean, obviously I lost that race. I didn’t even finish that race. At the time, I think I felt like an idiot for a) dropping the race halfway through, b) making a scene in front of all those people (didn’t like that much attention; still don’t), and c) crying in front of my classmates – although they were very used to that happening. But all these years later, it literally means nothing to me that I lost the race. I hadn’t even thought about it in ages until I saw the writing 101 idea for today, but it’s funny story so I might have to wheel it back out. See if my mum remembers it.

It’s weird to me that I thought something I was doing at maybe 10 years old was so important that I cried like a baby about it! Full on sobbing. Did I think sports day would matter 10 years later? I was only young I know, but it’s still strange to me when I think about it. Anyway, the moral of my story is that sports day means nothing (I’m looking at you, boys who treated it like the Olympics) and my mum can make everything better, even just by showing up.

Happy skipping/egg & spooning/sack racing to all!

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