WHEN our youngest daughter was at primary school, I recall coming downstairs one Saturday morning to find her leaping around the kitchen with each foot rammed in to the corners of a heavy-duty bin liner.
“That’s it . . . keep it tight. Now JUMP! . . . JUMP!”
8 I recall coming downstairs one Saturday morning to find our youngest daughter leaping around the kitchen in a bin liner – she was practising for the school sack raceCredit: Getty – Contributor
“What are you doing?”
“Practising for the sack race,” replied The Bloke, matter-of-factly.
Rolling my eyes heavenward, I thought no more of it until, a few days later, she and several other five-year-olds were lined up at her school sports day and a teacher shouted: “GO!” Like a kangaroo on steroids, Grace had crossed the finishing line before most of her stumbling classmates had even reached halfway.
“See. It’s all about technique,” The Bloke whispered in my ear, before taking her off to a quiet corner to strategise (“losing is a disease” etc) ahead of the egg and spoon race. Which, yes, she also won.
Fast forward ten years and our youngster is still a keen sportswoman but, after a decade of her father loudly questioning the netball/hockey/cricket umpire’s eyesight at every available opportunity, he is now only allowed to attend her matches on the solemn promise that he remains resolutely mute throughout. But what of those parents for whom even the mildest of competition brings out their absolute worst “bad sport” side?
Sheena Duggan, head teacher of Pentrebane school in Cardiff, has taken the desperate decision to ban all parents from future sports days thanks to the “bad behaviour” of a small minority which has apparently worsened over time.
“Staff have found themselves in the firing line of angry parents who can be threatening and intimidating. They have also been sworn at,” she said in the letter announcing her decision.
Bad enough. But worse, it’s a primary school, where the pupils are aged a tender four to 11.
How, pray tell, can a day that largely involves plastic hoops, mini hurdles and kids running 100m with beanbags on their heads descend in to teachers being threatened and sworn at? The mind truly boggles.
One father who attended says: “I’ve honestly no idea what happened to spark this off. Some parents were competitive, as you might expect, but none were aggressive or threatening towards staff that I could see.”
Perhaps he just needs to get better glasses.
Because, let’s face it, we’ve all seen or heard instances when the mild competitiveness that most of us feel tips over in to something unpleasant.
Every weekend, the park close to my house is packed with very young kids playing beginners’ football while a variety of supposedly adult men bellow from the sidelines as if they’re Pep Guardiola at a Manchester derby.
8 We all want our kids to win at sport – but threatening and swearing at the teachers? Credit: Getty – Contributor
Where does such, er, passion come from? One can only assume that they’re pouring all of their unfulfilled hopes, dreams and desires in to the achievements of their child.
Recently, a disgruntled father sued a youth football club for “emotional abuse” and “racism” after his ten-year-old son was substituted for another player.
The club’s secretary said substitution is, “just part of the game” and the boy was taken off to, “give everyone a fair chance and even playing time”, but clearly the dad didn’t see it that way.
Being annoyed at yourself for losing is human nature, but blaming or, worse, abusing others for it is just bad sportsmanship, plain and simple. Particularly when, as in the case of a primary school sports day, the “stakes” are probably just a plastic medal bought at the local pound store.
Those of us still allowed to attend our child’s sports day or matches should bear this in mind if we don’t want to be relegated to the car park.
Bad boys make Pammi go weak
PAMELA Anderson ain’t nobody’s fool.
Having interviewed her a couple of times, she’s no-nonsense, sparky and politically engaged.
8 Pamela Anderson is a goddess – with a penchant for ‘bad boys’Credit: Getty – Contributor
But in matters of the heart, it’s perhaps fair to suggest that her penchant for “bad boys” is a weakness.
The latest is French footballer Adil Rami whom she has branded a “monster” after dating him for the past two years.
Turns out he was allegedly still dating former lover Sidonie Biemont, mother of his three-year-old twins.
Pamela, 52, claims: “I was scammed, led to believe we were in big love. I’m devastated to find out in the last few days that he was living a double life.”
She says she spoke to Sidonie and claims: “My God. He lied to her about all too. She’s also in shock and is very sad.”
8 Pammi’s now-ex French footballer Adil Rami with his ex SidonieCredit: Getty – Contributor
Hmmm. While Pamela’s stance that she knew nothing of his alleged continuing relationship with his ex is entirely feasible, surely the same cannot be said of Sidonie believing, as she claims, that Rami told her his high-profile relationship with one of the world’s most famous blondes was “simply for publicity”.
Firstly, the woman is a total goddess. And secondly, as a professional footballer who plays for Marseille and won the World Cup with his national team, surely Rami is famous enough? Bucketloads of disbelief would surely have to be suspended for his ex to swallow such patent nonsense.
Either way, form an orderly queue – the glorious “Pammi” is single again.
But bear in mind that the former Baywatch star doesn’t just want someone for Christmas, it’s for life, boys.
School standards ‘sliding’
FOUR-YEAR-OLD Amelia Barnhouse’s attempt at drawing a slide amused her teachers because it resembled a giant willy.
One of my prized possessions from childhood is an exercise book from primary school when, asked to write about an animal of my choice, I mysteriously chose bullocks (no, me neither) but misspelt it throughout to write such gems such as: “Bollocks are big and hairy.”
8 Little Amelia Barnhouse’s version of a slide looks a lot like…Credit: Kennedy News and Media
8 The four-year-old’s teachers were left amused …for obvious reasonsCredit: Kennedy News and Media
One to show the grandchildren. Or maybe not.
Goop’s snoops’ scoops
GWYNETH Paltrow’s “Goop wellness summit” in London appears to have been a success.
Attendees paid £1,000 each for a day pass and, gulp, £4,500 for a weekend stay which included an exercise class alongside the Hollywood actress and, now, lifestyle guru.
8 Hollywood A-lister Gwyneth Paltrow has reinvented herself as a ‘wellness guru’ with her brand GoopCredit: Getty – Contributor
Clearly there are plenty of women desperate to shell out the price of a week’s holiday for a mere glimpse of her loveliness and a wealth of advice on how to “create a new version” of yourself.
Although judging by the amount of “insider” articles that emerged shortly afterwards, a hefty number of them were journalists.No sweat for Kylie
KYLIE’S red all-in-one outfit for Glastonbury looked, whisper it, plastic.
I’m sure it was crafted from mung beans or recyclable paper but either way, it had the look of a saveloy skin that – were it menopausal moi wearing it on such a hot day – would have been fit to burst with trapped oceans of sweat.
8 Kylie Minogue’s Glasto outfit looked like saveloy skinCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Boiler suit indeed.’Move it, move it’
A SENIOR commander at the Army Aviation Centre in Hampshire has told overweight soldiers to: “Eat less, move more and steer clear of beige food.”
And there, in a nutshell, is the very simple premise that, however much waffle you dress it up in, underpins every diet book, DVD and supposedly revolutionary “health plan” that’s flogged to those who wish to lose shift a few pounds.
ARISTOCRAT John Seymour, the 19th Duke of Somerset, has been enjoying a three-year affair with a socialite 21 years his junior while still married to Judith-Rose, his wife of 40 years.
The liaison is now over but his lover, divorcee Eliza Dugdale, 45, mitigates: “It’s [his wife’s] fault for being away so much. Poor John was sitting at home in moth-eaten jumpers eating a ready meal for one.”
What, is he nine?
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Monopoly goes cash-free
THE maker of Monopoly is about to launch a cashless version that uses digital technology to keep track of your money.
Where’s the fun in that?
Surely, the best part is when, having accrued piles of your competitors’ dosh, you wave it at them and gloat boorishly: “Loadsamoney.”
Oh. Just me then.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop comes under fire as watchdog group is alleging the company is making misleading health claims