Diary - Georgia on her mind

5th September 2008 at 01:00

Woodside High held an Olympic Games as part of its P7 induction week and I was invited. Thankfully, there were no computer-generated fireworks or cute nursery kids miming the opening songs, but the potential for disaster was always there.

I noted that some of the parents booed all the flags that had the slightest tinge of green in them and I wondered at the wisdom of letting the shell-suited hordes in, carrying bottles of a well-known Belgian lager carefully disguised as Scotland's "other drink". I scanned the list of events, trying to anticipate the best time to exit, given the rising temperature and the average consumption of non-isotonic Stella.

The long-jump pit had been cleared of needles and dog muck by an army of willing helpers who had been promised immunity from participation in return. The head of PE barked out his orders in a distinctly aggressive style, and I don't think this was an impersonation of the Beijing uniformed militia. He liked it that way.

This was the Sports Day from Hell, as the worst excesses of inter-school competition were added to a potentially lethal mix of sun, booze and boredom. I was constantly being asked to present prizes and be nice to the rector, two tasks which I loathed doing. He is a pompous, self- opinionated, arrogant, conceited, insensitive oaf and made an ideal candidate for high office in his professional association, his local Rotary Club and his church. No doubt, he would in the fullness of time, appear in an Honours List "for services to education".

The decibel levels increased as the P7 Olympics moved on. My old school was appearing as Germany and they were doing well. Ignoring shouts of derision from parents playing the role of Russia supporters (George Street Primary by any other name), including references to Rome, Dublin and the Pope, I tried to remain neutral.

Just then, I looked at the programme - The Relay Race. GermanySt Pats was in the lane next to RussiaGeorge Street. The strains of "The Sash" and "The Soldier's Song" were barely audible above the cheering of the masses. The Mary Decker and Zola Budd "incident" was nothing compared to this.

On bend four, the "Russian" runner slipped in a hitherto unseen patch of dog muck and clattered into the "German" hope who, in turn, tripped the "Chinese" star attraction. All hell broke loose as the slowest runner came in first, much to her own and her school's amazement. Parents started fighting. The rector was flustered as he saw adverse headlines blotting his illustrious career. I needed to be elsewhere - and quickly. I made my excuses and left.

As I sped out of the litter-strewn car park, I saw four wee waifs standing proudly on the podium. They were from the little village school and they had been representing Georgia.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today