There is nothing quite like the summer prep school sports day for reminding Dad's that Father Time is a merciless sod with something of a sense of humour.
Indeed, many of us have stood quietly whistling the theme to Chariots of Fire under our breathe as we roll our shoulders in preparation for the Father's race, only to stop and stare open mouthed, with arched eyebrows as some underhand cove takes a pair of running spikes out of his bag. In fact at the Crumble Kids prep school they stopped the Fathers race some years ago because of the unsustainable injury rate; much to the relief it must be said, of some of the heavier footed Dads.
Other schools continue unabashed however with the injury toll quoted at the pub being something one might expect to have heard after the Third Battle of Ypres. Over at Amesbury School the Fathers & Sons annual cricket match has claimed another casualty. Friend and travelling companion, "The Leaping Salmon of the Line Out,"; he of the unbeaten Rugby School 1st XV of 1978, came a cropper this week when, in a valiant attempt to run his son out with "an explosive burst of speed," the only thing that exploded was his Achilles Tendon. Presently working from home after a short op, he'll be out for weeks.
One mother rather unfairly suggested that "these Dads egos are writing cheques their bodies can't keep."
I'm reminded too of another chum from the same school who played in the same fixture against his son a couple of years ago. Both were captains of their respective teams. Both too, were equally mortified when Dad bowled son out first ball. A fleeting moment of triumph was swiftly replaced with a lifetime of embarrassment and remorse. I don't think either of them will ever quite get over it but I'm looking forward to a reprise of the incident at the 21st or the next significant Wedding Anniversary party...... if there is one because the Mum's Union weren't too impressed with that one either.
So, as middle aged Dad's are arriving in Accident & Emergency faster than the DIY rush on a Bank Holiday, ("the saw had a mind of it's own nurse,"), we look once more to the kids to show us the way.
One such is Elliot Glover, 14 years old and who is close to completing Lands End to John O'Groats by bike. He's done it at a fair old lick and is doing so in support of a great cause, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. Regular readers will be used to me pushing our "House," charity, holidays4heroes, and we're immensely grateful for the continued support. Elliot's efforts though deserve recognition and his fundraising could do with a wee boost. If you can spare a tenner, here's the link.