Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Beanbag on your head!

A tall, athletic teacher leads he group of gangly Year 6 children out on to the field. For Miss P this is one of the highlights of the teaching year, a chance to demonstate her P.E. prowess, to show how well her class can perform on the field.

In that class is a tall gangly 10 year old, one of the youngest in the class and still head and shoulders taller than them all. She walks on to the field looking down at her P.E. pumps, and out of the corner of her eye straining to see if her mum is there to watch. She sits down on the damp grass and waits her turn, her turn to demonstrate how she hasn't really gained enough contol of her longer than average limbs yet. Her little self esteem ready to take another knock when she yet again comes last.

Soon it is time to line up on the start, may as well get it over with. She looks over to the table of medals and trophies and would dearly love to win one herself. Off they go! She runs and runs as if her legs depended on it, but of course the egg falls off the spoon, the skipping rope tangles and she is always last. No medal for her again this year, Miss P shakes her head, but at least it's over.

Now this girl has become the Mum watching on the sidelines. Anxious, and experiencing the same sense of dread and doom as she did over 20 years ago. This time it's different, the child is a boy for a start. He walks out confidently on to the field, waving. He giggles excitedly and wiggles about because he can never stand still,. It's noisy and out of routine and he sits with his house not with his class. His turn arrives and he lines up ready. Off they go! He runs and runs but like his Mum his gangly limbs aren't athletic just yet and like his Mum he is last. Last but happy, a hug from an older child and a sticker for particpating for everyone (winner gets house points). His Mum sheds tears of joy and pride.

Then it's time to exercise some demons. The Mums race is announced and now is the time to say goodbye to memories of Miss P and school sports days of old and bring it back into the now. A tennis racket is produced and a ball to balance on it, oh and a beanbag for her head. Off they go! She runs and balances and comes in last behind the sporty mums and their trainers and shorts. She did it! It was fun! Most importantly her smiley boy was pleased she had tried.

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