I’ve been editing the content for Issue 2 of Still Warm and I can’t help but reminisce about our Post-Incubation issue. My story about a summer games day made it to print but hasn’t yet appeared online. Here’s an excerpt.
– The egg and spoon looses its innocence.
Childhood games: some encourage team work, some test our wobbly developing limbs, our balance and our coordination, but all of them contain a significant dose of competition. Within the blissful bubble of childhood we may manage to stay sheltered from the concept, but of course there comes a time when we realise that winning is important. Usually this message was reinforced for me with each pelt of a dodgeball until I began going to the sick bay every time the bag of balls was brought out for PE.
Some children will triumph and some will be picked last. The egg slides from the spoon into a gloopy mess on the ground, gleefully trodden in by your peers as they pass you by.
A somewhat unhealthy combination is an uncoordinated, vertically-challenged child who stubbornly can’t diminish her competitive nature. Yes, through school I must have learnt that sport would be a lost cause and I would be better off whooping ass in the more nerdy arenas.
But I suppose it was this competitive strain that allowed me to push any memories of the misery of loss aside when my adult (sort-of) friends had the brilliant idea of reliving school sports day at our local park. It was to be a day of coloured teams, sweat bands, fun and games and coveted first place medallions. I certainly don’t regularly engage in any athletic pursuits that would give me reason to believe that I could easily take on these games with any better results than in the past. But my inner child beckoned to me. And there was always the factor of excessive alcohol intake that may set my friends/opponents at a disadvantage.
It all started out with the retro flashback of the egg and spoon race. We lined up with our eggs and spoons at the ready and clarified the rules; one hand only, thumb not allowed to hold egg in place, other hand behind the back. Ready-Set-Go through the megaphone. And we’re off. Oops, my balance is bad and the egg rolls off. But, aha, it doesn’t break on the grass – not having far to fall due to my short stature. Pick it up. Not remembering if a fallen egg means starting again I allow myself to take in my surroundings. My peripheral vision registers a mess of limbs and colours and eggs. Instant free for all. I set off towards the half way mark, already behind the pack. From my right, an arm swings under my spoon and launches my egg through the air! I am indignantly stunned. What happened to the rules? I should have known that one adjudicator and at least twenty racers means that the appropriate level of rule monitoring would be impossible, but somehow I was still trusting the nature of my competitors. How could I be so naive? Whilst I did glance my foe, I still have eyes only for my egg, which again has not broken. Following its path along the ground I scoop it up and continue. All around me eggs are flying. I pass a marker post and am on the home stretch. I put up my defences, more aware of people around me now, but she gets me again! The same person! My egg shatters and I trudge to the finish-line in the midst of the egg and spoon chaos.
Evil grins were splashed across the faces of the cheaters. Eagerly they confronted their victims. Claims came from all around me.
“I got you”
“I just ran with my other hand under the spoon.”
“I was holding my egg and spoon in my fist.”
Thus, in the short few minutes of that race, my opponents had molested my inner child, taken her candy, cut the strings of her helium balloon and run over her dog. But I patted her on the back, wiped away her tears and pep-talked her for the next race.
Photo credit: Lauren Olney for Still Warm