Lucy, assistant editor at Execellent (Devon’s Capital Magazine) contacted me last month to write a piece on Sports Day: how it has changed in the last 40 years! If you’ve read either of my other pieces for this magazine you’ll know that Lucy is about 23 and horribly…………well, young. I think I’m her go-to 40 something – I’m ideal if she needs to know how sh*t happened before 1996.
As it was, I shopping in Exeter last week so I arranged to pop in to discuss the article with her. I chose the hottest day so far this year. The offices (all sour lemon and greys) were air-conditioned and crisply cool – as was Lucy in her patterned jumpsuit which in no way at all made her arse look huge (an inhuman feat). I, on the other hand was so hot and sweaty that I was glowing more than a glow worm’s arse at a glow worm’s arse glowing championships.
Lucy sat me down on the slidey canary coloured couch with an ice cold San Pellegrino which I would have happily squirted into my own face.
“There’s wet wipes in the ladies loo……” Lucy offered helpfully with a barely disguised wrinkle of her nose as she watched a drip slide down the side of my chin. Nice. I found some tissues in the bowels of my bag and retrieved my olde world notebook with bits of loose paper, lists and post-it notes spilling out of it. Lucy looked perplexed at this. What is this strange thing you call paper? She reached for her iPad, swiped the screen a few times snappily – what she was doing looked professional but she was probably just sacking some one off on Tinder before we got down to business. She looked up after a few moment’s distraction. Her contouring was perfect I noted too. I tried not to hate her. Too much.
“So Hillie – I’m thinking Sports Day! I’m thinking let’s compare modern sports day to sports day in your day…like….you were a child of the 70’s right? Like how has the event changed? How have the races changed? Like, have we taken health and safety too far today?”
She didn’t require me to like interject.
“I mean, there must be some vintage stuff you can throw into this piece, some nostalgia. Was it all bunting, orange quarters and like sack races? What were those weird races you did with your legs tied together? Let’s compare it to today’s sports day – is it a more sterile affair…I mean, like, do they like even have the mum’s race anymore?”
Ahhh the mum’s race……………….
In my Mum’s day all the mothers seemed to kick off their espadrilles, tuck their kaftans into their massive knickers and bloody go for it but nowadays the mum’s race mums at sports day are more varied and so in the name of research for my article I’ve compiled a list:-
The ‘actually sporty’ Mum this mum will be wearing trainers and sports leggings but may have thrown on an old t-shirt so she doesn’t look too keen – don’t be fooled. She’s been spotted out and about running like usual but just recently she has added sprint interval training……..
The ‘Converse or unbranded equivalent wearing’ Mum this mum’s choice of footwear is premeditated. She’s gone casual. She knows she’ll run way better in Converse or the unbranded equivalent and no one will bat an eyelid at her everyday summery daps……..
The ‘very competitive’ Mum she was probably the lacrosse captain at university. She undoubtably swam at county level in school and was also inordinately good at badminton when she was in her 20s. What she lacks in running prowess she’ll make up for in gritted determination, competitive elbowing and intimidating Haka style stares.
The ‘got a right face ‘on Mum this mum has an academic slash musical child. She spends much of sports day glowering from under her sunglasses giving off ‘yeah but my son’s got grade 6 Clarinet’ or ‘Yeah but my daughter has the reading age of a 14 year old’ vibes. There will be no mothers race action from this mum. The only sprinting she’ll do is to run down the sporty kids mums at the next PTFA meeting.
The ‘hasn’t thought it through’ Mum, as the name suggests this mum is liable to loose a boob out of the side of her strapless maxi dress. This will occur half way through the race and two seconds before she realises!
The ‘wedgey’ Mum this mum will spend the entire sports day sitting in either a too small school chair or camping seat (with drinks holder). She’d like to get up for the awards at the end but in fact she’s totally wedged into it. Her arse has got stuck in the heat and the plastic seating has welded to the backs of her thighs. On the bright side she might get a free leg wax when she finally gets peeled out of it.
The ‘barefooted and boisterous’ Mum she is wearing a floaty dress which will flap up in the wind to reveal more information than she’d like. She’ll kick off her red Birkenstocks with a giggle and say coyly “The mum’s race?….oh go on then, you twisted my arm,” before she frog marches up first to the starting line.
The ‘hustler’ Mum this mum might be new or have a child in reception. This is her first sports day, she’s got no form, the bookies (other parents) haven’t even given odds on her. She’s going to blast up the field from nowhere in her Sainsburys plimpsolls and whip those hackneyed old mares. Fo sho.
Of course as the mothers race finishes in a sweaty blur you’ll always get the faller, the one who drops a shoe/sandal, the one who loses a left bosom, the one who shrieks like a howler monkey when she hits the finishing line and not forgetting the champion Mum who’s photo will be all over social media gurning grotesquely as she hurls herself across the line like an overzealous olympian.
If you’re up for running the mother’s day or indeed the father’s race this year do let me know how you get on? Think of my comments as a safe place………….
As you were!
My actual piece on Sports Day: how it has changed in the last 40 years! will be in next months Execellent Magazine for all you subscribers out there, for those of you who don’t live in the Exeter catchment area don’t worry because you can see it online if you can be at all arsed.