Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Friday, 5 February 2010

That's Another Swimming Carnival Off The Blocks

For some reason, every school in Adelaide seems to have held their annual swimming carnival yesterday!
Here's the setting for ours.

Swimming carnivals in Australian schools are not the 'Baywatch' events you might imagine them to be. A remarkable number of teenagers seem unable to swim; unable at least with any degree of confidence. Getting kids to nominate for events is a continual trial and even those who put their names down are frequently incapacitated on the day for any number of reasons.
"Miss, I pulled my hamstring at footy training."
"I can't swim miss, I feel sick."
"Miss...it's ladies things...you know!"

Humph. Ladies things indeed. Have modern youth never heard of tampons????? Apparently, or should I say conveniently, not! I remarked to one of my colleagues that it was amazing how 80% of the House seemed to have a period today.....and that included the boys!!!!!

My Care Group were no exception. They readily embraced the opportunity to wear casual clothes, some of them even managing to stretch to some House colour! (green of course)
But of this little group, gathered in our home room for roll call, only two actually got in the pool!

Mind you, there were those who entered totally into the spirit of the thing.
That's our House captain in the body paint! But even out of this enthusiastic group, only one was a swimmer! She was a pretty good one though.

You may have seen a picture of this before:
it's our House banner, taken at last year's sports day. On the first day back at school this year, they called for the banner, to be used in assembly as we presented badges to the new House officials. It had last been used in a similar assembly on the final day of 2009 although I had been reluctant to part with it as, on many occasions previously, it had not been returned. Well, surprise surprise, as I looked around my office on the first day back I realised.....the banner had not be returned. A quick email to the staff brought me no joy. No one was willing to take responsibility for the whereabouts of our banner! Grrrrrr. I set the new House Seniors onto the task. They had to search the basement sports store room and the offices of any likely sport related staff who may have inadvertently packed the banner away with other equipment at the end of the year. As the swimming carnival approached and our fruitless searches left us empty handed, I faced the realisation that I would have to make a new banner.

Which I did on the night before the carnival.

I finished at 3am.
Now, admittedly it is not as showy as the original, but it is bigger! It is also not perfect...but did I mention it was 3am?

Why did such a simple thing take so long? Well, first I had to go shopping for materials, home at 8pm, cook dinner, then start planning and sewing. I started off with a cheap, queen sized satin fitted sheet from The Reject Store ($25.00) and cut it down to a rectangle. The fiddly bit was the letters. Himself generated some letters for me to print out in tile formation. I then had to tape them all together and use them as patterns. I backed them all in iron on interfacing and carefully ironed over the edges to create neat letters for appliqueing. I had originally intended to put some yellow lightening bolts onto it but Himself and I couldn't agree on the design principles and it was getting late at that stage so I left that for another day. I hope to embellish the thing before the Sports day in week 5 or 6.

Oh and guess what? You've guessed haven't you. On the morning of the Swimming Carnival I went into the basement sports store to look for some random item and looked up on the top shelf. Yup. There was the old banner.

Still, we used the big one. >:-( I wasn't sitting up all night sewing for nothing!!!!! The kids seemed happy enough.

Speaking of the kids, the swimming carnival is always a great revealer of character. Usually this is a good thing; kids rising to the occasion, filling in at the last minute; setting themselves a challenge, even if it is only to make it to the end of the pool; but yesterday I had more of an ugly reveal. One of our year 12 girls is an accomplished swimmer and has always done well for the House, even though in the last few years she has become less inclined to compete and more inclined to lounge about in a revealing bikini displaying her other talents. Yesterday she just didn't show up at all. I couldn't believe the selfishness of that act. To have a gift and keep it when your House needs you? Sorry. I just don't get it.

BUT.... on the other hand.....

A while ago I wrote about this guy.....

that's him up there on the blocks! And what is significant about this is that he IS up there on the blocks. Now, as you may be aware, the African race are not known for their swimming prowess. A few years back one of the African girls jumped in during the swimming carnival and had to be rescued! No joke!

In the past, Gene has been very reluctant to participate in anything House related. He and another three African lads wander the school looking like some sort of Liberian Mafia gang and generally being 'too cool for school'. Gene turned up to the swimming carnival wearing very sharp clothes, with plenty of 'bling' and looking like there was no WAY he would go anywhere near that pool. Now, I would love to say that I talked him into giving it a go, but in truth it is an even greater joy to me that I didn't. I simply looked around at one point and there he was sitting in a chair waiting for the next race. I guess he feels like he belongs now.

I love the House system.


Elisa said...

So you just KNEW that banner was going to show up! Seriously - you asked the kids to find it and expected that they were thorough....hahahahaha! :)

My kids look that well (ha), too. I tell them to look as hard as they would if it were money or a treat! (that only works once in awhile)

GO GENE!! I think I recall you mentioning Gene sometime before and his reluctance to join in. So happy he felt a part of it.

The photos certainly do look festive! It would appear that the students seem to have forgotten the real purpose of the event, however! Swimming? Whose swimming? We're looking cute and flirting? Why would we swim?
hahaha - maybe the new rule is - no swimming, no partying! (Good luck with that!)

Stacy said...

You are so dedicated...3 am?? Of course, it turned up the next day. That is Murphy's Law LOL! They must have looked as hard for it as my kids do for whatever we ask them to find.

I thought all kids in Australia knew how to swim...hahahahha! Well, my hubby is a total non-swimmer, too. He WAS named after a man that drowned, so I think part of it is psychological. We have had the kids in swimmming classes for the last year or so and they are getting it. I love to swim, so I wanted the kids to be able to well...not drown!

Looks like it was a great time and a fun event! :)

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

That's great that he seems to be doing so well. Such a heartbreaking story.