I sit a row away from the last and witness another ‘Sports Day’ at my young lady’s school. It’s been a while since I got to a Sports Day. Covid killed many memories before they became one. I have no doubts that events like a school’s sports day evaporating into a ‘could have been’ has been a very cruel cut.
Parents of different shape, size, colour sit there as the kids march by. I smile as I discover that for the kid, Sports Day is a shy wave and a quick dart of a signal at his loud hooting parent with a big camera and a loud whistle. A signal that seems to say “I see you. But I am doing my thing in the field. Please behave”. I watch all of it and smile.
For, the spirit of sports day is more than merely sport. To run. Cheer the other. Lose. Win. That is par for course. But most importantly, sports day is also about being a good sport! Not just playing one.
I am often reminded that this is a world where “It’s not about winning and losing” is a refrain that is accompanied by a pause and a quick question, “who won?”
My auto affiliation is with the outlier and my eyes are trained on the kid who is out of shape and out of sync. You can say that I ought to be out of my mind to think these kids have a chance too.
But, I really think so.
All kids run. Throwing everything they have at whatever that comes in the way. They fall. And then pick themselves up. They fall again. In some sort of a way, they remind me of a person I know. Myself.
There are other kids who play football. A tall kid scores a goal and screams whilst running around the field like Cristiano Renaldo. I look at the goalkeeper. He picks up the ball with disappointment and and rolls it forward. He then shouts to his team mates, “come on guys, we can do this”. I wish I had some of his spunk.
In some time kids in Grade three canter in with their Lezims. They bring home the point that Sports day is about synchrony. To understand that every move is music and harmony. And if you are out of step, you can hear it!
Sports day tests you best when things don’t go to plan. Like when your Lezim breaks and you are there in the middle of the field not knowing what to do. It is then that your grade three intelligence tells you to put your broken lezim down. And move your hands and legs to the tune of all those around you, as though you had a lezim in hand.
The relay races remind you that it is important to pass the baton on. And trust that the next runner will better you. To know that the baton has to be passed on, no matter which track you run on and how fast you have run is a good lesson to learn from Sports Day!
You are never done with sports. Sport is how you live. Shortly after sports day is done and we get home, the young lady turns around asks, “can we play?” Reminding me that a sense of play is necessary to live a good life.
By that logic, everyday better be a sports day! Which is a good lesson to have at the end of it all.