Sports Day conjures up so many memories for me: of races run, giggles with friends, frenzied cheering and the exhilaration of realising that your House has actually won the coveted cup. A day full of so many heightened emotions and today, for me, held more than any other in the past. Not surprisingly I wondered what the day had in store for M and worried a little about how he’d manage the races with his cumbersome pump pack strapped to his back and his tube taped to his face. And it was the end of an era for G. We’re in to the final stretch: May half-term is over, SATs have finished, the Year 6 production rehearsals are ramping up and in less than 6 weeks time, my first baby will have finished her Junior school years and “big school” beckons for September.
One of the very many things I love about the kids’ school is that they still hold a competitive Sports Day, where winning means something, but is not as important as team spirit, or encouragement, or taking part. or cheering for everyone in the race, whichever House they represent or whatever position they finish. I still remember the very first Sports Day I saw at this school, when G moved there half-way through her Year 4 year. I was instantly impressed by the support and encouragement given to, and by, every year group to each other. I saw Year 6 boys cheering their peers on, waiting by the finish line to welcome the last child in, however old they were and thumping them on the back for a job well done. When I saw that I knew that we had made the right decision in choosing this school for our pair and looked forward to them becoming a part of it.
Three years on from that first Sports Day and I stood proudly on the sidelines cheering both my children on. The first half of the morning was occupied with following M’s class around the circuit of team races and the occasional mad-dash removal of his pump pack when it suddenly became evident that neither skipping ropes or sacks were going to work with a heavy back-pack in situ. He took part in every activity and my heart swelled when his entire class chanted his name as he completed a second turn in the sack race for his House. For his lap in the family relay – a team consisting of one child from each year group – he and I agreed that he could race pump free and with his tube strapped down and, boy, was it worth it. He flew down the track at lightening speed, proving to all watching that his tube really doesn’t stand in his way, especially not when it comes to winning points for his House.
Disappointingly, I couldn’t watch as much of G as I would have liked, but despite only being able to watch her complete one of the initial team races, I was able to cheer her on during what I was thought was her only other event, the over-and-under race. To my surprise, as she and I stood side-by-side watching M run his relay, surrounded by their House, she announced that she was also running in the Year 6 girls’ relay, a race I would have never anticipated her taking part in as she’s really not a runner at heart. And so, this year’s Sports Day experience finished in fine fashion with M taking G’s place next to me, cheering his big sister on as she competed in her final race of her Junior school days.