Jon Axworthy is a father of three to children Eddie (14), Sammy (9) and Annie (7) has been to more than a fair share of sports days, and after seeing that parents have now taken to filming their kids to prove results at sports day he’s got a lot to say.
It’s not the only annoying thing parents do at the school event apparently; from swearing, to turning up in gym gear, he tells all…
The Sun Dad-of-three Jon Axworthy, pictured with wife Clare and his three children Eddie (14), Sammy (9) and Annie (7)
AS a veteran of many, many sports days the story that parents at a school in Cardiff were using iPads to record their kids races and then using the footage as “evidence” to contest results came as no surprise to me at all.
This is just one of the many ways that going to see their little ones run, jump and skip their way to a finish line turns normal mums and dads into raving lunatics.
Here’s what else to look out for on the school sports field this summer.
1. Sports day attire
Just because your kids are dressed in their PE gear doesn’t mean that you have to follow suit and turn up like you’re about to line up next to Katarina Johnson Thompson, dressed head to toe in Lycra running kit.
Let’s face it, the most active you’re going to be is when you spot that the refreshment stall is down to the last Kit-Kat and you have to break a sweat to get there before another parent scoffs it.
Jon Axworty Jon on a family day out with wife and three children
2. Drinks bottles
For some reason, on sports day, parents think that they need to fill little Tommy’s drinks bottle with a specially formulated isotonic drink, usually reserved for Premier League footballers.
After all, that’s just the kind of competitive edge he needs when he puts egg to spoon.
3. Documenting the day
Every parent wants to go home with some lovely images of their kids in action.
However, to capture them, you do not need a camera with a tripod and a lens that’s longer than one of the Year 6 kids.
Just take some blurry images on your smart phone like every one else.
Questioning the eyesight or parentage of an elderly substitute teacher, who is just days away from retirement, when her only crime was to not be in possession of the technology to differentiate which of the twelve kids, running at the same speed, crossed the line first is not really acceptable behaviour for a parent.
Save it for the next PTA meeting when you can suggest that school funds are diverted for a VAR machine.
The Sun Jon’s son Sammy at the egg and spoon race
Of course it’s exciting when you see your little ones test their physical prowess by throwing a bean bag into a bucket.
However, you don’t need to shout “get in the hole” every time he or she hoofs one into the air, like you’re standing on the 18th tee at the US open.
Similarly, you don’t need to run alongside them during the 100m race bellowing, “You. Are. A. Winner. Go! Go! Go!” through a megaphone.
6. Victory celebrations
It’s a magical moment when your child runs over to you with a medal to validate a hard won race.
It makes it less magical for them when you take the medal off them and run along the line of runners up making the the shape of an L on your forehead with your hand.
7. Emotional support
One of your roles as a parent at sports day is to be there for your child if things don’t quite go their way in the sack race and they end up in an embarrassed heap on the floor and in floods of tears.
You need to pick them up, comfort them and let them know that it doesn’t matter where they came in the race because you are super proud of them.
This isn’t the time to tell them that their technique was a disgrace and that they’ve brought shame on the family name.
8. Acting your age
Just because the sun is shining, you’ve got time off work and you’re surrounded by kids doing the floss doesn’t mean that you should join in with them at any point.
If you do this, there will come a point where you realise that all the seven-year-olds have now stopped doing it and the ones that aren’t staring at you in horror are now running to tell the nearest teacher that there’s a “drunk man/lady by the trim trail”.
9. Family involvement
It’s great that you’ve taken time off work to go and see the fun and games at your son or daughter’s primary, but did you have to bring that many relatives with you?
There’s a point where the fun of being the centre of attention for the day stops for the child and feeling pressured by the weight of expectation of three generations of your family, the neighbours and the guy who serves you all the time in Sainsbury’s starts.
A token grandparent would have done.
10. The grown-ups race
This always closes out proceedings and is the perfect opportunity for the kids to see sportsmanship and fair play in action.
Unfortunately, the race is usually populated by overly competitive mums and dads who will stop at nothing to walk off with the bragging rights for being the fastest parent on the school run and make up for being overlooked for the school athletics team when they were 11.