They have practicing for weeks, the weather has been glorious and finally the big day has come - and so has the rain. Onto the sports field and we look at a sea of red uniformed children and finally make out the Pickle warm and snug inside her bright pink tracksuit. It appears that independence of spirit and a healthy disregard for convention seems to be a family trait!
First up was the dressing up race: on went the shirt, and (clutch my heart) she is in the lead, scarf goes on, oops, one sleeve slips off, on goes the hat, the shirt comes off but never races on to the finishing line. Shirtless but victorious! Yes, our daughter has won. To give you a clue as to the surprise the first thing that my Mum says when I tell her about the day was a cheerful 'Was she as bad as you?'.
Next up and we have the egg and spoon race - and it is time for dirty tricks. She is off, doing well, racing away as other eggs go flying, then she gets ambitious, or is it just that she fancies playing football, or maybe tennis, then - what the hell - she holds the egg, she has had the taste of victory and she flies over the finishing line. Another 1st sticker to add to her collection (she is cool, so it is not stuck on her track but coyly concealed on her t-shirt and zipped away from view; did I mention that she shows no sign of conformity?).
Third race is the running race. Would her guile make up for what she lacks in size, although that is not holding back Bo the Bullet, the speedy revelation of the day. On your marks, Get set, Go ... yes, really go...go? yes, go. She is off, finally, and she is doing her best racing along fantastically - just not particularly fast. She makes it to the finishing line - last - but greeted by one of the grown up children (who is maybe 8) and another sticker for taking part. 'Mummy, I won again!'.
Two more races to go, the assault course then the relay. The assault course is laid out and ready to go, and her little voice pipes up 'Mummy, is it the end of sports day yet.' Fortunately before discontent sets in she is off again, through the hoop, beanbag on her head at a particularly jaunty angle and she is zipping through the slalom. In pole position when from across the track a little boy races on, oblivious for the need to slalom. After her sharp tactics in the egg and spoon karma has caught up and she is pushed into second place. Any urge to ask for a stewards enquiry into dirty tricks is arrested by a huge downpour and the ensuing chaos.
Family picnic is cancelled and communications break down - bedraggled parents gather for cover as the children are herded back into classrooms. Sports day is over!
What a thoroughly British affair - everybody won regardless of where they came, rain and total chaos. The Pickle was victorious! Hurrah! Three cheers for sports day and the British summer.