I must admit to not being fully prepared for Tom's Nursery Sports Day. It was only a matter of hours before its start that I even considered going but thank goodness I did. I could dress this post up in so many ways and the sports day would serve up the necessary material in spades.
Firstly, and most personally, the hour-long burst of races was a testament to the incredible progress that Tom has made in terms of his balance and mobility since the meningitis. His running stride is elegant and, to my only-slightly-trained-eye, straight and true. For evidence, I submit the following:
These two pictures were taken during the final race which, according to the program, was the 'Let's have a drink in the garden... but watch out for the bees and wasps!! race'. Which leads me neatly on to the second subplot - the event was devised by a comedy genius - or geniuses - who had come up with a series of eight races. Under the theme 'Gardener's World', each race had a subtle twist designed, presumably, to keep the interest of three and four year olds. In keeping with your average Pixar production, this had the possibly inadvertent effect of also making adults howl with laughter.
The first race set the stage perfectly - the 'You need to get a big bag of compost home from Asda' race (US translation: Asda is a proud member of the Walmart family) saw half a dozen earnest kiddies in pushalong cars grinding their way down a 50 yard track with, seemingly full bags of compost strapped to their roofs. Aaah heck, you need to see it...
Note the stockcar style being adopted by some of the drivers - it really needed to be seen to be believed. Little legs sticking out of the bottom of the cars, going ten to the dozen and going nowhere fast.
Every race had a new twist... 'Now collect your plant pots in your wheelbarrow' needs little explanation. Nor does the 'Your plant needs water to help them grow... you will need your watering can' race. Suffice it to say, it kept us all highly amused and utterly refreshed by the lack of guile or competitiveness on show. I lost count of the number of times that the leader, streaking ahead and only yards from the line, stopped and waited for a friend. One little boy, in the 'Time to cut the grass... again... can you mow in a straight line?' race, flew in the face of convention and worked his way across the track in neat strips, turning neatly at each side just as he'd seen his daddy do.
I had time to enjoy that... seeing as Tom had creamed everyone in that race.
Did I say it wasn't competitive?
Please note the 'Tongue of Concentration'.
Given that the week to come is the last for Tom at this school, sports day was a sweet finale to his first school experience. All fears about how he would cope in a mainstream environment have been dispelled. While supported well by the school, he has needed less and less individual or special attention as the term has worn on and will excel in mainstream education.
So thank you James Peacock School, Ruddington. We will miss you.