This is the weird thought I had today at my youngest child’s annual primary school Sports Day (he’s in top infants, or Year 2 for you younger people out there).
Shortly after waking this morning and realising that today was his Sports Day my reaction was not one of joy, elation, excitement or anticipation, it was one of annoyance and irritation. My second reaction was one of guilt at feeling annoyance and irritation. I reprimanded myself: what sort of mother doesn’t enjoy Sports Day? I don’t know of any other parent who feels the same way as me. But then I wondered, it this just another example of one of tose Things Nobody Admits To? There are a lot of Things Nobody Admits To but that’s a future blog entry.
I don’t enjoy Sports Day and I hope that I’m not the only one (otherwise I really am a horrid mother). I didn’t enjoy it as a child and I enjoy it even less as an adult. Why? Well, I’ll tell you. There are a number of reasons and here they are.
It is the same every year.
Since having children I’ve attended at least 11 sports days. I’ve watched them toddle, jog, canter, skip and run in front of me. I’ve seen them throw beanbags into hoops, jump as high as they can, stumble over hurdles and slide over the finish line. I’m bored of it. The formula doesn’t really change much. I’m more than regular bored of it. I’m bored to tears by it. Sports Day has changed little, if at all, since the 1970s when I was at infants school.
If they have Sports Day why not have Maths Day or Art Day?
None of my three boys are particularly athletic. They like maths and art. They are good at maths and art. They’d win maths and art races for sure. They never win running races. They don’t look to me like they are enjoying the whole Sports Day experience that much so since they look a bit miserable, therefore so do I.
Parents are expected to attend unless pinned to the ground at work by an elephant
Sports Day means that I have to forego work for a whole morning. I am paid by the hour. It costs me £40 to attend Sports Day (on average). The timing of Sports Day is never convenient. They either start half an hour after school drop off or finish half an hour before the end of school and this entails a lot of hanging around and more small talk (see next point). So Sports Day actually costs me more like £50. Do I sound grumpy? Yes.
Sports Day is hell for introverts
I have to sit with people I don’t know (at least this is the case this year as we moved to a new school in January) and wait desperately for someone to engage me in conversation. This is painful. I’d rather take my laptop with me and do some work thereby negating the above point, at least a little bit.
Parents are more concerned about capturing the moment than enjoying the moment
See point below about ‘bringing out the worst in people’. All parents and grandparents have their phone out, and pointed at their child, as the race happens. Nobody is actually watching their child run. They just want that ever important photo. Yes, I do this too.
The Great British Weather
It is usually borderline freezing cold (having said that, today was a glorious day).
Sports Day brings out the worst in people
I am not a ‘cheer ’em on’ type of mum. Today, I found myself sat sandwiched between two groups of screaming women who kept jumping up to holler ‘Leighton! Leighton! GOOOOOOO!’ or ‘COME ON SUMMER! RUN! RUN!’ They got on my nerves. They did it for every race. I have no urge to do that. I also witnessed one mother pushing a second mother out of the way today when the second mother lept up to cheer her son on thereby obscuring first mother from taking a good photo of her son. That really did happen. It was quite aggressive. I’m surprised second mother didn’t give first mother a knuckle sandwich. Now that would have made Sports Day more entertaining.
The one thing I do like about Sports Day is the mummy race. However, this is the element that brings out the worst in my personality. I know my children won’t win any races (and they accept that, as do I, as part of life’s way of saying ‘you can’t be good at everything and your skills lie elsewhere’). However, I am good at short distance running so this is my time to shine. I love the mummy race. As soon as the teacher in charge exclaims ‘and now for the mummies’ I have been known to leap up and be the first on the start line, with gritted teeth and a determined glare. I have won past mummy races. I once missed one because my youngest (who was three at the time) needed a poo. I had to hide my irritation that day but boy was I irritated.
So at least today I had the hope that there would be a mummy race and I might leave these Donnington mothers as dots on the horizon as I glided gracefully over the finish line, arms raised, sweat poring and joy oozing. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. At the end of the last children’s race the teacher in charge announced ‘thank you all for coming, we’ve had a great day, bye bye see you in half an hour’.
So today was definitely a hip hugger sort of day (yeah, it wasn’t so bad really), not granny pants but no go commando either (which isn’t a good look on Sports Day anyway, especially during the mummy race if you are wearing a skirt).