Monday, 30 July 2012

Do you have the mongrel in you?

This last weekend has been very competition focused.  I am not naturally competitive.  I do not have "the mongrel" in me when it comes to the crunch.  I've noticed that having children does create a bit of a "pseudo mongrel", which I feel stirring when they are playing sport.  Sarah and I have been working on awakening her "inner mongrel" for netball as she doesn't have a great deal of it either.

But this Saturday the netball mongrel had to stay asleep and we got out our gymnastics mongrel instead. After a night out with friends to celebrate a birthday and getting up at 5:30 to watch the Olympic opening ceremony with Josh and Issy, I drove out to Homebush for Sarah's second gym comp feeling fresh as a daisy (not).

Gym competition is another world.  It's our first year and it's all very new and exciting, and just a bit quirky.  Luckily I have summarised the major detail in four points so you can understand it as well as me.

Very professional and a bit intimidating. 
1. The kids compete on four apparatus, floor, beam, uneven bars and vault.  As they do their thing, they are immediately given a scored and a corresponding ribbon.  By watching what colour ribbons they have accumulated, you get an idea of what colour they are going to get overall at the end. Blue is best, then red, green, orange and...something.

2. You lose points for touching your hair, and for fishing your undies out of your bum crack.  Lucky it's not real life or I'd be in trouble.

3. Kids are grouped by level and team.  Once everyone has their go on each apparatus the groups sit in a line and the officials call out the winners of overall ribbons.  It's very egalitarian, everyone gets a ribbon.  But you can tell how well they did from the colour.

4.  Every child in our team except mine has a club tracksuit (approx cost $150).  Because I'm a miserly biatch I made her keep warm in her old black dance trousers and school fleece.  This meant at presentation time her entire team had to sit in their leotards ($120 each) because they didn't match (and they must match for some reason- it's a team thing).  Sarah's coach has gently suggested that we get one, so she and all her teammates don't have to freeze while the ribbons are distributed.  So much for me trying not to hemmorhage money.

My child is the fourth blob from the left.  In leotard only holding her red ribbon.  Apparently it was freezing down there. 
5. At the end of competition, you and your children are forced to walk past a stall set up to sell shiny and sequiny gym leotards.  They will beg and implore you to buy them one.  When you say no they will downgrade and nag you for a scrunchie.  It's hard to stay strong.  Luckily I believe scrunchies are a blight on society and should be banished back to the 80's where they belong.

Sarah came home with a swath of brightly coloured ribbons.  She got a red overall and in her individual apparatus she got a blue, two reds and a green.  She did her best and knows it.

Completely happy with self.  
By the time we got home, our Friday night out and early rise got the better of me and I collapsed onto the couch for the rest of the afternoon watching the opening ceremony replay.  More competition, but at least I didn't have to drive any of the Olympic athletes to their venues.  My mongrel had an early night.

This morning (Sunday) we set off once again, bright and early to lovely Randwick, for the NSW Band Festival.  We had to deliver our red shirted darlings to their conductor by 9:15.  In a panic I gave us an hour to get there, which we didn't need, which meant quite a lot of standing around.  The only coffee was perked.  Call me a snob but I simply can't do that.

So, completely uncaffeinated, I stood in the foyer of the auditorium chatting to other band parents, fending off requests for cupcakes from the kiosk and ukeleles from the band festival equivalent of the gym clothes stall.  Mike was out riding, so I had all three.

After a while, even though we had at least 4 bands to go before ours, I made the younger pair come into the auditorium to listen to the competition and to get away from the cupcakes.

You could tell which parents belonged to which band because they were the ones with the iphones in the air, filming.  At the end of each band's performance there was a massive rush for the door, as all the exiting band parents departed and an inrush of new parents would arrive.

There were 10 bands, mostly public schools, 2 private.  One (who's name rhymes with socks) performed just before ours and there were a few Dads near us filming away on their smart phones.  They all had loafers on.  It's lucky Joshie isn't down for these schools as I doubt Mike would ever consent to loafers.  He's more of a Converse guy with RM Williams for special.

Our band is big.  The kids took up all the chairs on the stage. Some bands only took up half of them.  We are a big school and our band program is very good.  Some might say it's an unfair advantage.

I say bollocks to that, the kids work bloody hard and so does the conductor and the parent liaison. (Is that a bit of mongrel?)

Only photo where only my child is recognisable.  Don't you love the red shirts?
When they finished playing, there was a lot of wooing and even a bit of foot stomping from our commensurately large parent contingent.

And we came home with GOLD!  Gold I tell you!! Another band also received gold (it's not like the Olympics where there's just one gold), everyone gets a medal so there were 2 gold, 3 silver and 5 bronze.  Socks got silver.

But I'm not competitive...remember.