Last Friday saw Natty's first ever Sports Day! Woohoo!
|Egg and Sppon gentleness|
Last year we had planned and practiced, mainly what was expected of her, what each activity entailed and how to wait her turn, cheer on her friends and so on.
Well, if you can cast your mind back to last summer, it rained. It rained a lot. It washed out 3 scheduled Sports Days and then we ran out of term time. The weather matched my mood, I was so very very disappointed that Natty and her classmates didn't get their first experience of this tradition.
|Pippin is smuggled in|
However, straight after half term (nice and early in case the weather decided to change its mind) we received a slip giving us the date of this year's event. Straight in with no time to plan or dilly dally.
Sun cream and hats were the order of the day and we turned up proud and excited to watch Mia and Natty enjoy the fun together. They had been put in the same team which pleased them both greatly. In fact it was the first time Mia hasn't complained about not looking forward to Sports Day in her 5 year long school career.
We even brought Pippin with us (Dogs, we later discovered, weren't allowed, so I hid him under my arm and pretended he was a fluffy handbag with legs.)
Now for those who think Sports Day is about being competitive and sporty and excelling and winning, well there is that element, it is brought out in some more than in others. But there is so very much more to it. This Sports Day was very inclusive; every child competed in every event, including the ice lolly pit stop. Older children worked with younger children to encourage and support them. There were future athletes, children who shun excercise and wouldn't put team sports at the top of their list and children with LDs and physical disabilities.
The sense of achievement for all involved was all too plain to see. Look at Natty's face when she threw her last and 5th hoola hoop and it when over the pole. Priceless. A boost to any child's confidence.
|Hoola hoop over pole result!|
I was nervous about the 100m race. What would she think as her long-legged friends tore down the straight ahead of her? Would others look on and feel sorry for her 'bless her'.
Not a bit of it. As Natty tore down the straight as fast as she could, watching her friends disappear over the finish line ahead of her, she looked from side to side at the crowd, with a grin as wide as the Cheshire Cat, and she waved. The crowd roared with cheers as she finished and many other Mums had tears, making my wracking sobs slightly less conspicuous. Pride doesn't come close to describing what we felt. Sports Day being one of the events we wondered if we would ever watch when Natty was born.
|Hurtling down the track, waving to her public, after all her friends had crossed the line|
Another little girl's wheelchair had to pull over for a pitstop as it was experiencing 'technical problems' because her TA was pushing it so enthusiastically down the straight, so high was the feeling that afternoon. I'm not sure it was made for such speeds ;)
|Javelin Thrower par excellence|
The egg and spoon race was a similar story. Natty carefully and gently tiptoed down the track, only dropping her egg once. Slowly but surely went that tortoise.
So, new skills were learned, confidences were boosted and our little community was again brought together, brought closer by the variety of children we have in our midst sharing a common goal that afternoon. For, as Mia says, 'Everyone is different'.
I reflected on our Sports Days, when I was always the last to be picked, made to feel chubby and useless, with sadness. Thank goodness those days have gone for our girls, although some schools have yet to fully embrace a properly inclusive Sports Day so I understand.
It's amazing how events like this rake up the past isn't it.
|Tricky bean bag event|
We returned home happy and with sunshine in our hearts, a few millimetres taller, our chests puffed out far. Mia was beaming. Natty was unusually quiet. When we looked around she had fallen asleep in the car...