Go take a running jump

1st July 2005 at 01:00
When will they ever learn? Not content with the farce that was the prize-giving, Simon and his amazing dancing sycophants decided to resurrect the school sports - not the potted variety, which occasionally could be quite good fun, but the full semi-Olympic Games.

I explained that primary 7 javelin throwing might cause a few wee problems and that the shot-put was long since confined to Jannie Jim's attic. Simon was adamant, and insisted that St Pats should produce the next generation of Olympians.

He mumbled something about "running for the country", but by that time I was past caring. I could see my first cocktail at the bar, waiting for me after a not too energetic swim in the Aegean, the sun beating down and the sea a beautiful aquamarine blue.

Thirteen hours to go. Certainly, Simon. Go ahead, Simon. Marathon? Maybe not, Simon. Yvonne, she of the fitness club, face-lift and false everythings, decided to organise refreshments. I could sense a migraine coming on. I prayed for rain. Why not a Priests Piggy-Back Race, a Sisters of the Sacred Heart Sack Race or a Diocesan Discus?

The day dawned. Just my luck - glorious sunshine, not a cloud in the sky.

Simon and Co had been there since 7am, preparing the events. The school field looked great, apart from the dog mess in the two inside lanes and the odd needle or two in the long jump pit. Simon was wearing his blazer and shades and looked an absolute twit. Yvonne was twittering on about her top.

Did it clash with the bunting?

The medals had been bought by Ronald, and would be presented by the latest "niece" he had acquired. She was very pretty and bore an uncanny resemblance to one of last year's S6 at St Bernadette's. Coincidence, surely?

The kids were as high as kites. Last day of term, brilliant sunshine, sports day and, to top it all, Yvonne had organised three ice-cream vans and a chip van, which now duly surrounded the track. My head was reeling with chimes from the assembled vehicles. The parents had gone overboard.

Deck-chairs were parked at the side of the track and, before I knew it, every resident from the surrounding houses was on the St Pats playing field, rubbing in the sun cream, listening to stereos, reading the Sun and filling their faces with ice-cream, chips and enough additives to start a riot. All we needed was a beer tent. I spoke too soon. I saw a gang of youths heading for the field, with crates of what looked like the only Heineken that Councillor Anderson hadn't consumed at the prize-giving.

The P1s cried at their event. Some ran off to their mums, others simply stood and watered the track. Others skipped off into the waiting line of school board "officials". When the idiots ran out and stabbed the little athletes with rosettes, all hell broke out.

The relay races for the P3s were an all-time low. To shouts of Anglo-Saxon abuse from their guardians, the kids ran out of lane, backwards, off the track and anywhere but where they should have been running.

Amy was winning by a mile, but stopped to stroke her dog Molly who was catching up in lane three, having bitten two of Amy's nearest rivals. The P6s gave a good account of themselves in the pole vault, although how Jimmy managed to end up in Mrs McPherson's garden I'll never know. It could be a school record.

Simon dashed around with his clipboard, looking efficient. Looks can be deceptive. The other events went off relatively smoothly, until the Parents Race. Sun, Heineken, ego - need I say more? The Poseurs Parade was a sight to behold. Designer gear, shades, sweatbands and spikes. Spikes? Honestly.

Simon was marshal and starter. I swear I saw money changing hands at the end of the 100 metres track. Brian's "uncle" was taking money from a group of people. Surely a charity collection, or maybe a donation to offset the costs. Father McGregor was contributing, so it must be fine. So was Sister Charity.

It was pretty close at 50 metres, with Paul's dad just ahead of Mandy's "uncle". Kylie's dad, the weediest specimen you will ever see, was last.

Then the gloriously unpredictable nature of live sport was confirmed.

Paul's dad slid in some recently deposited dog mess, crashed into Mandy's uncle and brought the barking Molly on to the track. The next four contestants collapsed to the track holding legs, arms and more sensitive areas, as Molly protected her master.

Kylie's dad, fag behind the ear, wheezed past them all, coughing and spluttering over the line where he threw up the contents of his four visits to the chip van. A hero.

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