This is me at 8 years old, in my last year of ‘First School,’ the sports day experience I had 27 years ago I can remember vividly like it was only yesterday, this was the start of all sports days to come and I’ve never forgotten it.
On Wednesday I read a post from Faithmummy What happened when a child refused to have my autistic daughter in her team which is a brilliant post written by Miriam Gwynne, who is also a member of a group of SEND Bloggers than I belong to. Reading this about Miriam’s daughter having to prep for her sports day, took me right back to how I felt on days like Sports Days whilst at school. I dreaded those times when it came to team games and picking team captains and team members, I struggled with co-ordination, I found any physical activity very difficult and I towered above my peers, at age 8 I was in age 11-12 clothing. I was the girl that nobody wanted in their team.
Not every child likes Sports Day, in fact, I hated every minute!
I hated the pressure of demands, “do this, do that, stand here, go and stop.” I hated team games, the hype and passing a ball to other team members and other kids getting angry if I wasn’t quick enough or dropped the ball.
All those people watching, I hated drawing attention to myself and being ‘on show,’ I hated the noise of the crowds of spectators shouting “come on,” the metallic sound of the crowd, all their voices merging into one that noise that makes my ear vibrate and travels through the whole of my body, it feels like it’s bouncing off my bones, thinking to myself: “Please make the noise stop! I just want to go home.” When I dared to look into the crowd all I could see was a sea of eyes, staring and watching.
I was desperate not to be last, desperate not to be laughed at, and even more attention being drawn. In the sack race because I was so tall, my sack reached below my knees, when everyone else’s came above their waists, so of course I came last, I sat and I cried and cried I couldn’t stop, someone said “what are you crying for?”
I copy and mimic what other people say, I even caught myself saying this to my child the other day:
“It’s not about the winning it’s about the taking part.”
I stopped myself as I suddenly thought, what would my 8-year-old self have thought?
“It’s not even about the taking part, what if I don’t even want to take part?”
“I’d rather be reading a book like Matilda or any other Roald Dahl.”
So this year I won’t worry if my big girly finds it all too much to even take part, it goes back to trying to fit us ‘square pegs’ into those ’round holes.’
And please don’t pressure me into taking part in the all important ‘mums race!” That’s a whole other story !