Race Day

Today was our school's cross country race day. Despite praying for rain (me) the sun shone beautifully and the sky was the most entrancing shade of blue. We're not a sporting family. It's a parent thing, isn't it? Sporting parents invariably equals sporting kids, and vice versa.. My kids were very excited about today and I was careful not to in any way dampen their spirits. None of them are particularly good runners, but they are eager to try and I love their happy willingness to do their best.

Last year after Jesse's race I heard a group of the boys from his class enthusiastically comparing notes on what place they had come. "What did you come Jesse?" one of the boys asked. "I was in between!" Jesse declared, as if it was the best thing in the world. "I wasn't at the beginning and I wasn't at the end, but I was in between."

I thought that was fantastic. He was entirely happy being a participant and actual placing didn't matter to him at all. Schools of course make an effort to tell the students it's all about doing their best, but inevitably it comes down to winners and losers, which team has the most points and so on. There's a place for rewarding excellence of course, and it's great to see kids who excel at running or jumping or hitting a ball.
But I must admit to feeling a bit sick watching the (often) smallest kids trailing so far behind the 'winners'.

here's my boy running "in between"

and here's someone who ran every time we tried to put on his hat
I know my outlook on sports isn't popular with many, more competitive, people out there - especially in an Olympic year (I learnt that last time after writing a letter published in the SMH). So I'll just try and keep my head down, and avert my eyes from the television. I may feign interest in how "our team" is doing... but I'll probably be thinking more of those tiny African nations. You know, the ones with two or three athletes, no funding and one pair of sneakers between them? And I'll keep telling my kids to always try their best. That it's great to be a happy participant, whether you come first, last or "in between".


  1. Ha! I've heard B cheerfully reporting "I was in the middle!" when people ask her how she did. That's what I told her when she asked, followed with "good job!" We are not sporty either, but R sure is, so we are trying our best. :)

  2. I think Arch is going to be sporty, he's already mad on balls! So am psyching myself up to cheer him on in future! I so admire your efforts with Saturday sport! :-)


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