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Sports Day by Heidi Davy

“I can’t do it Mum! I can’t do it, I can’t run!”

Forrest Gump springs to mind: life is like a box of chocolates. In the world we live in, we certainly don’t know what we are going to get. Every child is different, every day is different, every hour, minute, and second.


Do you feel out of breath? I do. Just writing this, I feel like I am holding my breath. You will be pleased to know these days I remember to tell myself to breathe, deep breath in, hold & release, especially when my daughter is dis-regulating, oxygen mask, ON!

The school message drops into my inbox:

Sports Day this year will be held in your child’s house colour. Please send them on the day wearing a T-shirt in their relevant colour. Your child’s house colour will follow shortly.

My eyes widen, as I recall the memory of Sports Day pre-COVID holding my breath again! So, guess what colour my daughter’s house is? OH YES, you’ve guessed it, BRIGHT YELLOW, yes you heard right, BRIGHT YELLOW!! So not only will my daughter be dis-regulating, but she will also be wearing BRIGHT YELLOW for all to see.

COVID saved me from enduring Sports Day for the last 2 years, but now the time has come to re-visit. I type through gritted teeth. I feel like I’m still suffering from a form of PTSD from the last one.

Setting the scene:

Hundreds of scary adults

Surrounding hundreds of hyped-up kids

A traumatised child spots her safe adult

She runs the best race of her life to me

Using her fists to connect

Screaming at the top of her voice: “I can’t do it Mum,” “I can’t do it, I can’t run!”

All teachers, teaching assistants, parents, even the friendly ones move away.

At last, someone to help, oh no, “You’re the mum, can’t you sort her out?”

“Can’t you see I’m trying!!’ I reply with tears in my eyes.

The entire school now looking at me,

The invisible coat comes out, I put it on, I somehow get my daughter inside the building, wait for it!!

The fire alarm goes off, NOOOOOOOOO, we have to return to the field.


WE line-up for the fire register to be taken, my daughter calms.

So, guys and girls, you can see why I love Sports Day. This whole ordeal lasted around an hour and a half, exhausting for everyone.

We chat over breakfast the next day, “Your sister & her boyfriend will join you for Sports Day this year,” she carries on munching her Golden Nuggets, golden like that T shirt she will be wearing. They seem somehow to be growing in size & jumping out at me as I wait for her response. “Why mum, is it because the last one I did was so dreadful?” she says quietly, staring into her bowl. “No darling, you know how they never get to see you do anything, well this year, they are free,” I reply, silently breathing a sigh of relief.

“Cool,” she says positively. “You know it won’t happen again.”

Sports day arrives, the yellow T-shirt is on, maybe this year it will be different…

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