School Sports Day
Hi guys! Sticking with the fitness theme I thought I’d bring to you a bit of nostalgia today from days of old, seemingly very old in fact. My wife and I were talking last night about when we were kids and our respective childhoods along with their associated triumphs and pitfalls, the good, the bad and all the similarities and differences in between. We talked about home life, primary and secondary school and what we did for fun and frolics throughout the early years. It very quickly became eye-opening for the both of us. My wife is Cambodian, so the specific differences were vast, though interestingly were embroidered with very general similarities.
The immediately obvious contrast was the part how technology played back then, which naturally revealed a huge difference between growing up in England thirty something years ago to how life in Cambodia was at that time. The very idea of some kid on the other side of the world lying around in his pyjamas playing games consoles to a Cambodian child growing up at that time couldn’t be more bewildering.
School life, especially primary school life on the other hand raised a considerable amount of similarities. We acknowledged that regardless of the huge cultural differences we shared, kids would always be kids: the infinite amount of energy, the rough and readiness, the sense of adventure and desire for mischief, the taunting and the teasing of other kids and the boundary pushing of teachers. Above all else we were young, healthy and fit.
It suddenly occurred to me while we were talking that there was something I’d long forgotten: school sports day when I was at primary school. I guess for me it is something that’s so long ago, it almost doesn’t seem part of my childhood or even one of my memories. But it most certainly is. The more I told her about it, the more her eyes widened, and in turn, the more enthusiastic I became. After all, the sheer absurdity of the activities we indulged in as kids on sports day made it very difficult for her to believe me, however entertained she was by it all.
So, if you too experienced sports day, for the benefit of reliving your childhood and feeling nostalgic for a moment or to, please allow me to refresh your memory with a few classics of the early years.
The first that springs to mind is the Egg & Spoon Race, where each child held a spoon with an egg nesting on top of it. It was a relay-style team sport where one child would advance as carefully and as quickly as they could to get to a specified line without dropping the egg, before sprinting back to their team to handover the spoon to the next excited team-mate.
Then there was the Three-Legged Race, where two kids were put next to one another side-by-side and had their inside legs tied together with a skipping rope. It was then an all out race against other three-legged pairs to get to the finish line. The trick was to get ‘in sync’ with your partner, which of course was a rarity, and the event generally ended up as a huge roll around on the grass in fits of giggles.
A much-loved classic was the Wheelbarrow Race, whereby one child would stand behind the other and hold his/her legs and lunge forward as the other child ran as fast as they could on their hands - without falling over, which of course was guaranteed to happen, as was the roaring laughter from the audience that accompanied the spectacle.
The Teacher’s Race was one of the favourites amongst us kids. Just having the rare privilege of seeing your most undesirable teacher don a pair of gym shorts and hurtle down the track with all the other teachers was obviously immensely satisfying for the kids, but nowhere near as wonderful as witnessing your worst teacher lose/his or her footing before face-planting themselves violently into the turf, which naturally would generate a whole new era of this teacher having an unfortunate ‘new name’.
Another great one was the Beanbag Race. In primary school we used to have small, pencil case-sized beanbags, which were given to each participant to race with. The challenge was to get to the finish line without dropping the beanbag. There were a couple of variants on this theme: participants would either run with a beanbag on their heads, or run on all fours with a beanbag resting on their backs.
There are plenty more of course and I guess things are a lot different now, but memories like those will always be valuable. I was thinking of organizing a similar thing here for the local kids, though it’s difficult to get hold of those kinds of props here. I did however find a great site this morning that might at least get the ball rolling so to speak. It’s a start at least: http://www.for-sale.com/kids-bean-bag-toss. I’ll give it a go and see what happens.
Thanks for reading guys, until next time..