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LIVE24SEVEN // Business & Education C LAI R E IN THE COUNT Y


The Sports Day mayhem…


Claire Thayers reminisces about The Sports Day mayhem ‘I can do this… I CAN do this’ muttering to myself over and over and OVER again… hockey stick in hand, head down, ready for the whistle.


Then it all went horribly wrong!


My eldest was a superb sprinter, we had just moved to Cornwall and there I was – billy no mates, primary school sports day on the village green…sat in my deck chair with the proverbial picnic, baby in the pushchair and trying to chat to other mothers, never easy … but then I really, REALLY messed up.


All parents were called forward to take part in the 100m hockey sprint, and although I have always had horses and always competed, I had never thought of myself as being competitive. I always did my best but I didn’t associate myself with some of the highly competitive pony club mothers that I used to meet when I taught at the North Cotswold and Ledbury pony clubs…


BUT on this day – I realised I was VERY competitive!


As I got ready to race, I had one thought and one thought only and that was to win, to show my eldest what a young, fit mother she had and for her to be super proud of me (in truth, I was an older mother, fat, forty and super unfit).


WHAT was I thinking…WHAT was I trying to prove… I had positioned myself on the outside – to avoid getting tangled up with the rest of the competitors – I could just whack that ball as hard as possible and RUN as fast as possible in a straight line, what could possibly go wrong?


The whistle was blown, and I was off… great tactic on the outside, head down, hit the ball as hard as possible, ran as fast as possible (bare foot – no heels for maximum speed), two whacks and I had covered the 100 metres, could see the line, could see the lady holding the tape… head down for final whack… in my head, focused… ‘keep running… got to win…got to make friends…got to make my daughter proud…’ WHALLOP!


I had hit the woman holding the tape at such force she was almost catapulted into the air and I landed on top of her in a sweaty heap, still holding my hockey stick and all I could do was shut my eyes – HOW EMBARRASING.


I had won… although no one ever acknowledged that as the local village primary school didn’t have a rule book that covered such a sporting disaster, so I laughed as best I could, pulled down the grass stained t-shirt (thank god it was only GAP and nothing designer) and quickly offered tea for all – AND cake to say sorry, which was rejected… so I scuttled off. I collected my mortified children and slunk off home to hide and to hope that it would never be mentioned again.


On the whole it wasn’t mentioned or discussed, until two years ago - I was told it was on TV ‘You’ve Been Framed’. Thankfully I am now living in Gloucestershire, few of my friends ever watch that programme, and no one would recognise me – at least I hope not.


So, the moral of the story - let this be a lesson to all of you – all you competitive parents – listen and learn; leave the ego at home, think of the mental health and wellbeing of your children and do not put them through such a trauma, do not risk your own health, broken bones are more likely at this age… and avoid the embarrassment, especially now, when everyone has a mobile phone/tablet and it could be filmed for the world to see.


Stay cool – literally… sit on that deckchair, drink gin and tonic, nibble demurely on a little piece of homemade quiche and avoid being part of the sports day mayhem – it’s just not worth it!


/ 106


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