Sports Day has been a big deal for me since I was in primary school. The adrenalin rush of participating in a race, but also cheering for your house, watching the march past, even doing some random drill but in a nice costume were a welcome break from the tedium of the academic year, despite the heat, dust and grime. As I grew older, I had a more prominent part in the races; though I rarely won, I usually qualified. My sister was always in everything so I always had someone to root for.
Now I get to relive the glory day through the kids. Last year, Nene did very well at Sports Day, so this year, he had something to anticipate. He kept telling me how he’s the fastest in his year, and I did a mental uh huh.
But it turns out, he is. He basically won a medal in everything he competed in, coming home with a huge haul that satisfied his magpie tendencies. It was really inspiring to watch my skinny boy streak ahead in the 400m and keep up that insane pace right till the end.
Meanwhile, Mimi did me proud too. I wasn’t expecting much, since getting Mimi to exercise is a struggle. She does want to do well at Sports Day though, so I tried using that to motivate her to run a few rounds of the playground – hardly a scintillating activity for someone who doesn’t want to exercise, but I tried and failed to motivate her to join Nene’s friends in their admittedly hectic running games.
She only did that now and then though, and it turned out she wasn’t chosen for the finals in most of the races, though she did come third (out of four in the one she ran, but another girl crossed into her lane) and to my surprise, won the javelin throw in her group. I was overjoyed that she had a gold medal to show off too. More than that, I realised that she could actually be a strong runner if she practices.
Mimi, of course, took a dim view of her comparative winnings, and there was a bit of drama on the way home. Oh well.
An annoying part of the day was that I volunteered to help out, was assigned to help the teachers at the throw stations, but when I went there, I basically got blank looks. If no help is needed, it’s fine, but then I found myself in this limbo where I would look like the ‘not helping’ parent having signed up.
Now, this is where V would just shrug and move on, but I felt obliged to keep asking around. The thing is, I could see that the teachers could benefit from help – running a station with only two people all day can be super tiring – but just did not want to bother thinking about fitting another person into their (hardly complicated) routine.
This year’s Sports Day was better thought out than the previous year, but it kind of amazes me that given that they do this event every year presumably, it seems fairly badly organised.
When I said this to V, he told me to “stop being negative”.
At the risk of continuing with my negativity – because this blog is my venting space, after all – I was reminded once again of why I stay away from PTA stuff. The weird thing I found with this school’s PTA is that they seem to want to get more parents involved, but when new people show up, they make no effort, except the very perfunctory, to interact with them, except to say “welcome” and then go back to their own cliques.
Increasingly, I’m noticing how bad people are at the basic social skills – i.e. chatting to a stranger. Hong Kong is particularly bad at this because people hide behind language. But I have noticed that even people who speak English will do this, or stick to their narrow racial (yes, racial) group because presumably speaking across accents might be too much trouble.
There was a time when I would go around bridging this divide, but I can’t be bothered anymore. However, even in my can’t be bothered state, I make more conversation with strangers than those who presumably do not see anything strange about their behaviour.