I arrived lugging a large picnic for seven and a garden chair.
I have learnt my lesson. Many’s the year I sat cramped and cross-legged on picnic blankets craning to watch my son’s performance. No: you need two things to watch sports day: comfort and elevation. And food. Three things.
A fabulous visual spectacle awaited me. The children have four school houses, and each house has a colour. It was like watching a frenzied way ward rainbow pushing boundaries for all it was worth. A chaos rainbow. One child stubs his toe on one side of the playing field and it has a huge augmented effect on the score desk right the other side.
It’s a forested school. Think tall pine trees and impossibly small children. Like my nephew, five-year old Big Al.
By the time I arrived, Al had already managed to have an adventure.
Well, what do you expect, when you give him and egg and spoon?
Al, like all his compatriots, is fiercely competitive. And when you stand at the starting line, it seems so straightforward; keep the egg on the spoon, and be the first one across the finishing line.
But the starting horn sounded, and Al set off and that naughty egg began to misbehave. It jiggled and agitated and was generally unruly. And somewhere along the way, Al dropped the egg.
His mum’s heart was in her mouth. Losing is not Al’s bag, baby. His shoulders slumped, and he prepared for a full-scale demonstration of his disapproval.
But all was not lost. For from the sidelines, with lightning reaction speed and a healthy appreciation of what Al will and will not do, shot the head master.
Al’s head master is new this year. He’s an action man. He was at the centre of the exuberant child-rainbow the whole sports day, and the children came first every time. Mums clucked approval. We like his style. Let us call him -for I sense this will not be the last we see of him – Mr Headmasters.
Anyhow, he positively flew on winged feet to the hunched little figure of the boy with the spoon scowling at a land-locked egg on the floor. Scooping up the reprobate egg, he said: “Come on, Al, let’s get to that finish line!”
Angels sang. Oh, well, Al concluded quickly, if Mr Headmasters is finishing the race, it would be churlish not to.
And they ran together, all the way to the finish line.
Snuggling up to Mummy during the picnic with parents, Al confided:”I didn’t think I was going to like sports day, but I had a great time.”
It was a rainbow day. My nieces, those I call the Princesses, each had moments of glory, and looked regal whilst they had them. Felix ran and won the 600 metres and I squeaked with motherly pride.
It was everything it should be, this chaos rainbow.
Written in response to Side View’s weekend theme: rainbow, which you can find here.