It was my school’s sports day today. For me, the weather was perfect; cool, cloudy and a bit rainy. Contrary to some of the stereotypes you read in the press, my state school’s sports day is not optional and not everyone gets a prize. The Daily Mail reported yesterday about a school where pupils are told that they don’t have to take part if they don’t want to — in my experience this is pretty rare — as are “non-competitive” sports’ days.
No, at my school, things are very competitive. So much so that we had a problem with pupils imbibing too much Red Bull in a bid to boost their performance. I don’t think this is cheating exactly but it does beg the question: should all caffeine be banned at school sports’ days? It was a bit worrying because some kids looked like they were mainlining the stuff to somewhat comic effect: one kid’s jogging up and down on the spot looked like Bugs Bunny on speed!
The Head of PE had to intervene and ban the drink completely. I think next year, there will be a blanket ban. We were all caught a bit on the hop with this one because it’s never happened before.
Anyway, the whole event was very good-spirited in the end, with the kids cheering both the winners and the losers. One sixth former gallantly tagged alongside a Year 7 pupil who was desperately struggling to finish the 1500 metres — she was way, way behind everyone else. As they crossed the finishing line, they got the biggest cheer of the day. It’s not the winning that matters, but the taking part — minus Red Bull.