As with Marmite you either hated Sports Day at school or you loved it. A pretty black and white affair; little grey in between. Things really don't change much either when you have graduated from pupil to teacher.
At junior school I was more than happy to take part in the bean bag race for the Normans but secondary school was a totally different matter. Rowan could quite literally go jump without me.
At my previous school sports day was a bit of a disorganised farce with the few (mainly PE teachers) enjoying the day. I used to feel quite stressed as I attempted to coerce members of my tutor group to participtre when I clearly shared their loathing. I once put a sporty boy in charge of recruiting volunteers. He bullied a group of over-sensitive girls so mercilessly that it all ended in tears and parents on the phone. The teachers all seemed to agree that holding sports afternoon at a stadium would make it more of an event. Something to be enjoyed by all.
Fast forward a year to Mile End Stadium. Pupils seated in house colours. A truly well organised event. But there was no hiding the fact we fell into two camps, pupils and teachers alike, the Loathers and the Lovers.
I felt quite relieved when asked to guard the exit with the Community Support Officer (there was no end to the number of attempted escapes). It got me away from moaning kids who I totally sympathised with. (Having said thet a boy did try barging me out of the way with a shoulder charge).
Surprisingly, then, I had agreed the previous day to take part in the staff relay. The grand finale to the day. D., the school's police officer, came charging through to me on sentry duty yelling they were all waiting for me for the race to start (no change there then).
All the other teams seem to have talked tactics, discussed how to pass the baton, who was best on which leg. We just knew that we were the only four in our department willing to make complete fools of ourselves in front of a potential crowd of about 1000 people. I'd never run on a track before and I'd never even handled a baton.
After the first leg we were very definitely going to be last. Everyone else on third had well and truly gone by the time I was passed the baton. I made up a very tiny little bit of ground but Deb The Bullet on the last leg wowed the place by steaming down the home strait and passing two others. We didn't come last. Hurrah!!
An exhilirating experience.
But I still hate Sports Day.