Yesterday I went to the South Hobart primary sports day for probably the last time. With Michael in Grade 6 this year, we are experiencing quite a few lasts. We started our involvement with the school in 2006, (almost matching the life of this blog), so it's quite an era coming to an end. Given the fluidity of people's work lives now, and I expect in the future, most kids will probably never have an 8-year stint anywhere again after primary school.
Michael is developing his thoughtful and responsible side. He shies away from the kind of leadership roles that naturally appeal to Marcus, but in his low-key way I can see he is enjoying being "top of the school".
At the sports I found him sitting in the back row of the grandstand, not on his own but just in his own space, behind some friends. Where Marcus revelled in leading, and encouraging, it is rare to hear Michael express enthusiasm for others efforts, and we are really trying hard to work on that with him. It comes very naturally to me to babble encouraging generalities while watching kids sport or playing my own, but it will have to be a learned skill for our youngest.
Of course it's nice to be encouraging, but beyond that it is good for you yourself, I believe. Even if it's claptrap and the people nearest me dearly wish I would shut up, I am certain that some kind of soup of positivity infuses and nurtures my brain while I am being Mr Encouragement.
Back to Michael and the sports. Grade 6 kids are chivvied into participating in practically everything. Once I was there too to join in the persuading, Michael had no hope of receding into the grandstand as he wished.
He had won his 100m race before I arrived - he usually runs in the "not that fast" heat and has won it comfortably now two years in a row. I also missed seeing his long jump, but I understand he came fourth.
I came in exactly at the start of his speciality, the sack race. He has been unbackable favourite for this for some years. It's a shame the monkey race was phased out, he was seriously a world title chance in that one. It was like Walter Lindrum all over again.
His race approach in the sack was "give it the kitchen sink", which probably cost him the win. He is simply the fastest, so if he'd just gone boing boing he would have won comfortably. Instead he took off in a frenzy and fell, injuring his arm and scraping his knee. He got up and then just burned up the track with the most incredible (bagged) closing speed anyone had ever seen. But too late, he hit the front mere inches after the finish line.
After some cajoling he went in the 200m. He is actually quite fast when he applies his mind and legs. He ran in lane 2, starting staggered behind all but one of the others. And he caught them all but one, coming with a terrific finish and just failing to pass Oliver who had spent nearly all his petrol.
Michael's egg and spoon race was not his best, but I was pleased to see that at last SHPS has invested in some Sensible Standard Spoons after some less-than-fair variability in past years.
As ever our family house Derwent was the winner at the end of the day. Join me now in one last rendition of DER WENT (clap clap clap) DER WENT (clap clap clap).