Birdy getting her third place in the long jump.

Birdy getting her third place in the long jump.

Firstly, apologies for the hiatus in posting.  I’ve had a few computer problems lately, but they’re sorted now!

My daughter had her very first athletics carnival a few weeks ago.  I wasn’t expecting great things – she came fifth out of seven in her heat – but she did pick up a third in the long jump.  We were all pretty stoked with that.  There are some families for whom the swimming carnival and the athletics carnival are the highlight of their calendar. They always come back laden with ribbons and trophys.  For others, there’s the ever-present fear of being the last kid in the pool, or being left behind drowning while everyone else is already enjoying the sausage sizzle..

I was very average at athletics.  I used to do okay in the long distance races, but with swimming I’m sure I had lead weights in my legs.  My husband, however, was a natural swimmer.  I like to joke that it’s because he’s less highly evolved; he has extra-long Neanderthal arms. I’m not too fussed about whether my kids win races or not, but I think it’s good to get into the spirit of these days, because they can be a lot of fun.  However, recently I’ve noticed that kids’ sport seems to bring out both the best and the worst in people.

I heard two very different stories from friends on Facebook recently. One friend was threatened by a fellow parent for defending the referee, who was a 13 year old boy.  A parent got quite aggro at the boy, so naturally my friend was sticking up for him.  Next thing you know, the Dad wanted to fight him over it.

On the other end of the spectrum another friend posted this beautiful story.  He wrote it so aptly that I thought I’d just quote him verbatim.

“We were at Jordan’s athletics day today and he’d just finished the 800m. He’s knackered and we’re having a chat when we spot a little fella in the next heat who’s barely left the start line when everyone else has already taken the first corner. He’s totally out of his depth – but he’s turned up and he’s having a crack.

By the 400m mark he’s been lapped by nearly everyone and he soon finds himself the only one on the track. A teacher asks over the PA for people to “please stay off the track because we still have a competitor in the race”.

You can see he’s really struggling now and he starts walking down the back straight – but he’s not giving up!! What a champ!

And then… out of the blue, up pops our Jordan. (8yrs old) He walks with this kid all the way down the back straight and into the final corner where he suddenly gets a jog on. We watch as Jordan cuts across the field and stands at the finish line with stacks of other kids who are cheering like this kid’s coming in for the gold medal.

They’re chanting his name as he crosses the finish line and everyone’s pumped!  Such an awesome moment! Everyone had massive smiles on their faces…

Except us.

We’re standing there trying to hide the tears in our eyes over what we’d just seen our little man do. What a champ. We couldn’t be prouder.”

Isn’t that beautiful?  Isn’t it amazing how having just one person come alongside him made all the difference?

Better than coming home laden with trophies is coming home blessed by a heart full of kindness.  And better than winning a ribbon is realising what makes a real champion – the determination to keep going when others would have packed up and gone home.

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