So we are well and truly into the school sports day season and thank goodness we have the weather for it! Some may say it's even too hot for it - but I refuse to complain following the months of such changeable weather, I am simply rejoicing in the rays - sweat or no sweat.
Yesterday was the big day for my little one with his first sports day at big school. At just five years old, he is in reception but nevertheless Sports Day was as serious an affair as it was for the older boys and girls. Off they set in their house colours to brave the heat for a series of tricky races - and boy did they do it in style. Rarely have I seen such dedication, bravery and such a strong sense of team spirit, I was touched and my heart warmed for them all.
It was a big affair all round. A total of around three hours of races, interspersed with water breaks and hand-outs of sliced apple and orange. On the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures reaching a scorching 32 degrees, the little poppets all did amazingly well. The various fields were surrounded by immensely proud parents (albeit rather hot and sweaty), so as well as the children being cheered on enthusiastically they were also thoroughly aware that all eyes really were on them.
Although the sports day was for the whole of Pre-prep, I was obviously mainly focused on my son's class, the teeny tiniest in the groups but no less involved. I was absolutely amazed at how well they handled the pressure in all these seemingly serious races; 150 m, long jump, obstacle course, hurdles, egg and spoon and the rest... They were all incredible - without exception. And lets not forget the unusually high temperatures they were tackling at the same time.
What I really noticed though, what really hit home and has stuck with me since, as a wonderfully encouraging observation, was that no one, not one single child ever gave up. Regardless of what happened to them, despite accidents, whether they fell, stumbled, got confused, did it wrong or simply just burst into tears, they all - every single one of them got up, carried on and did not stop until they passed the finish line, irrespective of how behind they may have been. Some in tears, some hobbling but they all, ALL made it to the end.
I was so touched by their stamina, courageousness, perseverance, call it what you like, their sheer determination to not give up was astounding. I felt incredibly grateful and thankful to the school for having cleverly got the 'Never Give Up' message across so well. I felt honoured to be a part of it and proud, not just of my son but of all the children involved.
Talking to my son on our way home in the still blazing sunshine - both exhausted, I said to him:
"You know what I loved best about sports day darling - apart from how totally brilliant and amazing you were of course?" ... and he asked me what?
"Just how strong every one was when they fell, or tripped or got upset - everyone absolutely everyone, no matter how big the problem, got up and carried on to the end. And that's an amazing quality to have in life."
"Yes Mummy." He said... "Because if you trip or fall or make a mistake you must always, always just keep on going and never give up."
That's absolutely right I said. A true inspiration to us all. Who says you can't learn anything from children..