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This is a question School Sports Day

At some point in the distant past, someone at my school had built a large concrete tank behind the sheds and called it a swimming pool. Proud of this, they had a "Swimming Sports Day" in which everyone had to participate, even those who couldn't swim (they got to walk across the shallow end of the tank).

This would probably have been OK if the pool hadn't turned a deep opaque green the night before due to lack of maintainance. Even the school sports stars didn't want to go near the gloopy mess in the pool. We were practically pushed in. I'm sure some of the younger kids never surfaced again and the non-swimmers looked petrified.

Tell us your sports day horrors.

(, Thu 30 Mar 2006, 11:13)
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*shudders at the memories*
My school didn't have its own athletics track or anything like that (though we did have a hockey/rugby/football/rounders/ritual sacrifice field about a mile down the road). So we used to have to go to stadiums around the area each year for the all-day fiasco that was Sports Day.

I was at the school for seven years, during which time I took part in Sports Day once, when I was in Year 6. Thereafter I got my (at the time) amazingly overprotective mum to send in the same note: "Dear whoever is in charge of PE, Maladicta has a weak ankle and therefore cannot take part in track events. At this time of year she also suffers from severe hayfever, therefore she is unable to compete in field events." If I'd known 'pwned' then it would have been used. I know that excuse was good enough to get me out of an entire summer term of playing rounders a few years in a row. I love my mum.

I'm sure the school knew I was just lazy and had no intention of representing my house (note to teachers: having houses does not automatically make your school as cool as Hogwarts, okay?), let alone my school if there was a terrible fluke and I did well at something. Either way, those who weren't participating had less fun than the people who were. We had to sit in the stands (divided into houses, which meant I was separated from most of my friends - there always seemed to be twice as many in the other house), and CHEER FOR OUR HOUSES when the track events were happening. There was nothing else whatsoever to do. Mobile phones were illegal at school, you weren't allowed to do anything constructive like read, do work or stare into space. No food, and Sports Day would generally last from 10 in the morning to about 2.30 in the afternoon (longer if it was rained off), so by 12 most people were starving. And as it was in the last week of the summer term, the weather was either fantastically hot or bucketing down with rain. In the case of a stupidly hot day, they would even confiscate water bottles. And the funniest thing was that the whole thing was set up so parents could come and watch, but I counted about three sets of parents in the whole time we were subjected to it.

In the spring term, there was also the horror of the Swimming Gala, which took place at a random swimming pool somewhere in the area. I had this one all planned out. There would be trials in swimming lessons for the younger kids (the Gala was compulsory for Years 6-9, and voluntary above that). I already knew I had no intention of humiliating myself in front of the entire school by finishing last yet again, so every time we were asked (read: forced) to try out I made a big show of nearly sinking and getting water up my nose and not knowing what stroke I was meant to be doing.

They stopped compulsory swimming lessons in Year 7, so after a couple of years of pretending to be crap, a simple "Can't swim, sir" was enough to have me passed over immediately, because everyone believed it was true. Luckily, being female, at the merest suggestion of participating, counting on your fingers with a puzzled look on your face, then looking at the ground, then around for a female games teacher, then pretending to be utterly mortified and saying "It's on the 23rd? Er... that's not going to... er... be... er... convenient, sir..." was enough to have any male games teacher squirming with embarrassment and sorry they'd asked. Yes, I was a manipulative bitch at school, but at the time I was cute and young enough to get away with it. There was the same drill here - the spectators had to sit in the stands, cheer their house (though everyone looked exactly the same and no one knew who was who because they had to wear school colours) and die of humidity, boredom and frustration at the whole thing. And no, we were not allowed drinks or anything, even if there were parents willing to buy them nearby. I think the philosophy there was "You don't want to participate? Fine. Now you will die of heatstroke, bitch."

Therefore, school = evil.
(, Thu 30 Mar 2006, 22:59, Reply)

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