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Thursday, February 20, 2014

How to Survive A Swimming Carnival!

The logistics of organising 700 kids into freestyle, backstroke and breast stroke races, booking an adequate amount of buses, begging for crucial parental volunteers, setting up tents and micro-managing rosters is no easy feat and our P.E. teacher at school, Alan, is a veritable genius when it comes to this type of organisation. 

It may very well have been a Freudian slip, not a typo, when our Deputy Principal sent out a group email one day addressing him as Anal instead of Alan.

It pays to be extra nice to Alan around the time of year when he’s busily coordinating the rosters for the 'Dreaded Swimming Carnival'. If you manage to draw the short straw you could end up as a “Team Manager” in the bleachers supervising a couple of hundred manic and well-chlorinated kids as they scream out their war cries like an agitated, drunken crowd at an Arsenal vs Manchester United football match. Your eardrums wind up peeling, then spontaneously detaching themselves by the end of the day.

Pinky was given a reprieve this year and was delighted to discover her favourite P.E. teacher in the world had rostered her on to one of the more prestigious duties. ‘Time Recorder’ was the official job description I think. 

Kaz and I were commissioned the dual task and were sat under a shady tent at a satisfactory distance from the uproarious mob.

I think Alan has finally noticed that I am indeed one of the oldest teachers on staff and am really verging on ‘frail little old lady’ status and thus took pity on me, God bless his little Adidas socks.

Not to say Kaz and I enjoyed a cushy day while our colleagues slaved in the sun. There were moments of intense pressure as every two minutes the eight top swimmers lined up for us to record their name, sport’s house and swimming time. We thought we had it down to a fine art until one little girl threw a curve ball.

“House?” I asked her as she stood dripping before me.

“Sixty-eight Park Drive,” she replied radiantly. I was thrown into confusion; it was hard to hear with the riotous background noise.

“No sweetie… what’s your HOUSE?”

“Sixty-eight Park Drive,” she repeated gazing patiently at the stupid teacher.

Kaz, noticing the exponentially expanding line behind the little girl interrupted.

“No dear, what’s your house colour?”

“Um… well it’s a sort of a greenish-grey with a white front door,” she answered thoughtfully.

I don’t know how but we managed to hide our giggles until she’d gone.

The day miraculously finished dead on time and after a more subdued bus ride home than on the way there, I bumped into one of the little grade three-ers on her way out the school gates.

“That was the best day of my LIFE!” she squealed.

So thank you to all P.E. teachers around the world. You do a great job and the kids do appreciate it.

And Alan… if you’re reading this I’ll make sure I slip another carton of Crown Lager under your desk next year as well!

Posting at "With Some Grace" for FYBF!