Emily and Phoebe

Friday, May 14, 2010


There is apparently some sort of open cross country race going on in the local park tomorrow. Grown-ups and high-school students will be running 3 kilometres, while primary school kids will have to complete a 1km course. I am not intending to enter (my knee is a bit fragile at the moment) but I note that in two years' time I will be in the oldest category of participants and quite fancy my chances against the local παππούδες* (provided I put in a bit of training first).

Although I have decided to postpone my bid for sporting glory this year, Emily and Phoebe are quite keen to take part.

Nevi and I are divided, however, over whether this is a good idea. Nevi says that a kilometre is a long way for young children to run (I suspect she may be right but suggest that it sounds much further than it is, an argument that sounds reasonable until you subject it to any intellectual rigour whatsoever). She is also afraid that there is a danger of them getting trampled (to which I respond - perhaps more in hope than expectation - that there will almost certainly be a staggered start to prevent this kind of accident). I am sure that she is probably concerned about the effect of unwarranted exercise on young bones, as well, although she does not say so. Most of all, though, I think she fears that the girls will suffer a ψύξη (psee-ksee), a kind of muscular pain or stiff neck which is the almost inevitable consequence of irresponsible sweating followed by exposure to one of the dangerous breezes found all too often in Greece. She will never admit this, of course.**

If Nevi is a bit doubtful about the girls taking part, I am decidedly gung-ho. Frankly, I see this as a golden opportunity to live vicariously through my children, pushing them to achieve the success that I was denied through a cruel combination of chance, indifference and lack of sporting ability. (I believe that psychologists nowadays recommend this sort of "adult-centred" approach to raising children as a way of making them more confident, independent and well-balanced.)

In the end, of course, what Nevi and I think is spectacularly irrelevant, because in this, as in most things, it will be the girls themselves who decide whether they want to run or not...

* grandads (most of whom seem to spend their time sitting in coffee bars smoking)
** Nevi has in the past been subjected to a certain amount of scoffery for her belief in the ψύξη. She was particularly annoyed when I suggested that along with band-aids and iodine we should keep a supply of leeches in our first-aid kit.


Anonymous Phil said...

I think your sporting career was cruelly cut short by the establishment's blind adherence to traditional 'popular' sports. I'm all for schools introducing darts and snooker to the curriculum - think how much better games lessons would have been and by now, you might have been throwing matches for Far-Eastern gambling syndicates with the best of them.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

I coulda been a contender! I coulda been someone! (Especially if they'd introduced shove ha'penny and dominos as well...)

2:32 PM  

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