I spent all morning on Friday burning in 30+ degree sun at my boys’ athletics day! Ok fine I was in the shade a lot but still managed a nice t-shirt burn on my neck! I volunteered as an official as I was spending the day there anyway and, since I substitute fairly regularly I feel like part of the staff as well. I was the official ‘ribbon giver’- a very very important job!

The first athletics day in the year is an interesting one as with the influx of new students you aren’t entirely sure how your child will perform. I mean there really is no telling if you have a Bolt on your hands until they actually hit the track. Fortunately at our school there is always inclusion and balance, and fun races are incorporated so that every single child gets a turn on the field in at least one event.

So this isn’t my first gig, I’ve been here before and look, I don’t have a single athletic gene in my body so I know we aren’t bringing any medals home- and I’m okay with that now- in fact my kids always get the same speech before events, “It’s not about winning, everyone is good at different things, so what if you come last, as long as you give your best and most importantly it’s about having fun.”

But when we first started it wasn’t like that… at all. It’s not that I want them to win every race, or event but it’s kind of difficult dealing with feelings of defeat, which I found myself doing a bit more often than I liked.

Now this is the thing, as much as I hate to admit it – I was er *cough* am… a fairly competitive mother. I don’t know when or how this came about but it was when I found myself shouting at the top of my lungs across the field and gesturing in what could be considered sport sign language that I realised – oh no!! I AM THAT MOM!! I’m that mom! I’m that Mom that stands on the side line not just cheering her child on with a clap and a pat on the back and a well done… I’m the loud one! The annoying one! The one people ask “who is she?” The one that you quietly think to yourself needs to ‘chill out… they’re like what? Seven years old? Does she think it’s the Olympics?? ‘

Yes, over here- that’s me! And never in a million years did I think I would turn out to be her! Of course you need to support your child, and push- er – encourage them on, but you also need to know where to draw the line and help them accept where they are in sporting ability and if they want to get better, help them work toward it. And acceptance doesn’t always come easily, for them…or for you!

Today I was proud of myself.

I didn’t get worked up, or let the competition get to me. Today I was not the Mom whose husband had to call her aside and say “Back away from the field , just slowly back away, you’re making the kids nervous “ (True story – Grade One cricket match in Phalaborwa).

Today I was the cool, chilled out mom- who hugged her laughing boy when he came close to or in last place.– Today I had fun – and I found a worthy successor to take over the much coveted role of ‘’That Mom.”

Today was also the first time I ran in the Mom’s race- yeah don’t even go there- the things we do for our kids! And guess what … I  was forced to admit that I think my boys, sadly, have inherited  their running genes from me, as I came second last, (of course it was due to the fact that I am the shortest and hence at a severe disadvantage). But when I looked down the field and saw my boys standing on the side waving and showing me a thumbs up (I always do this to acknowledge I’m watching) I just couldn’t back out. And my personal embarrassment of losing took a back seat.

So off I went- laughing all the way to the end, to be received by Isa my oldest with a big hug. When I caught my breath I said to him, “Shew Isa, that was hard… I’m not a very good runner am I?” He smiled at me and replied “You aren’t a very good runner mum … but you had fun and that’s the most important thing!”

Happy Monday Everyone!



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