My sports day debut left face bright red

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Last Wednesday, I woke up to a view from my window of dark and cloudy skies across Portsmouth. Above the chimneys, it was a moody scene and it looked like it could rain at any moment.

The man on the telly who tells us what tomorrow’s weather is going to be like didn’t predict any showers, so I held on to the hope he was right.

Why was I so worried about the weather? Well, it was the day that all parents and children look forward to – school sports day.

The parents love it because it gives them a surge of pride to watch their children take part. The kids love it because it gets them out of the classroom and into the playground for hours of fun.

If the weather is good my daughter loves to take part in the various activities in the playground where there is enough room for all parents to go and watch.

However, if the weather turns nasty and the ground gets wet, the fun moves indoors where space is at a premium and parents are not so welcome.

We were fortunate. While the moody clouds stayed, none of them rained on our parade. The school sports day went ahead as planned and I was able to watch my daughter take part in all the fun.

I remember enjoying sports day when I was at school, but I also remember being bored because there was a lot of waiting around until it was my turn to race.

Now, more than 20 years on, things are entirely different. At my daughter’s school sports day, there was no waiting around. I was really impressed with the new style day and wondered why I had not seen it before.

The playground was split into sections. In one area was the egg and spoon race, in another there was the sack race, while the assault course was in another and so on. The children were split into groups and after completing one activity, they would simply move onto the next.

There was no waiting around and no time for the children to get bored, plus there were lots of great photo opportunities for the parents.

It took two hours for the children to complete all the activities and then it was time for the tables to be turned, as the parents raced each other.

After some prodding, I took my place on the start line and waited for the word ‘go’. I didn’t come first, but I also didn’t come last, which was good considering that I had my youngest daughter Alyssa, who was watching the action with us, in my arms while I was running.

She loved it and I did too. That night my daughter Caitlin slept well and I was left to apply after-sun lotion to my face. During the day, the sun eventually made an appearance and my face turned a bright shade of red.