Sports carnivals make me think of poetry

It’s cross country carnival time tomorrow for my kids. Consequently David has a bad cold (every. single. year. he manages this, it’s a talent I tell you), Caitlin is busily making props for cheering while stressing out about the fact that she is slow despite her teacher’s assurances that small people are always the fast ones, and Tom has gone very quiet. I hated cross country running, my kids hate it and every year I struggle to toe the line of supporting the school and telling them they should join in. In point of fact I’ve got so bad at doing so, that when Caitlin said tonight that she didn’t want to run, I answered “Well, no one can make you.”

My dad wrote a poem when he was 15 that was published in his school magazine (back in 1960), it pops into my head whenever there’s a sports carnival on. The poem is about a cat named Tortoiseshell Tom. It’s quite long so I’m just going to share the first verse and the bit that applies here.

Tortoiseshell Tom was a tiresome cat
His head was large and his body was fat
But none of his fellows would stop for a chat
For Tortoiseshell Tom was a tiresome cat

At avoiding sport Thomas excelled
To such an extent he was almost expelled
For going home early without permission
Just to study and do some revision.

In Thomas’ eyes sport was useless
It rendered you injured and sometimes toothless
And a dental appointment was one good reason
To get out of sport whatever the season.

I’ve always identified very strongly with Thomas (except for the being tiresome bit).

In the morning I will be packing lunch and a thermos, hauling out a folding chair and heading off to watch my kids not run in the cross country. At least there’ll be good company, all the parents and grandparents sit around having a picnic day while the kids are tortured.

9 thoughts on “Sports carnivals make me think of poetry

  1. If they asked me nicely I’d stage a kidknapping to get them out of it. I hated sporting events when I was a kid. :)Excellent little snippet of poetry though.

  2. I’m so glad my school sport days are behind me…so very very glad. Don’t think I’m going to be much good at the pep talks either.

  3. I am giving you all a standing ovation. But I agree… cross country is demanding, difficult, and dangerous.The poetry was splendid (and funny!). Thanks for including it.

  4. C L A P P I N G !!!!! What a splendid poem! Your dad must be a real hoot.PS I make mine do the school sports thing, but I bribe them with ice cream for afterwards.

  5. I like Tom, he’s a bit like me. My daughter doesn’t enjoy sports as well. The fact that she has a balance of a three legged dog and poor hand eye coordination doesn’t help, but she tries her best to participate, as the teacher insists she needs sport… I prefer she had a brain than muscle, not like she spends time at home sitting.

  6. This is one of the reasons why wild horses (or a million bucks) could not make me repeat my high school years. (I don’t remember being subjected to this in Primary School, when I probably could have done it) I still hate you Miss LaMotte!! (we used to call her LaMutt, heheheh)

  7. Funny I seem to get my “period” during All the cross countries during school. You know the ones that make you vomit. Vomiting on queue is a very Awesome talent to have in highschool.

  8. I feel their pain. One of my most painful childhood memories was the annual “Presidential Physical Fitness” test that they do here in the states. Part of the test is doing a timed run for several miles – excruciating.

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