Jun 29, 2015

    The Mummy Chronicles: Saving the fuzzy best for last

    MY HUSBAND and I had a disagreement on the morning of a father-and-son sports day held by our son's pre-school for Father's Day.

    My husband wanted to wear a pair of skimpy running shorts to take part in the event. (He would also put on a shirt, of course.) The shorts he wanted to wear were terribly short and revealed a lot of leg.

    My husband's argument was: "Sports day what. Why cannot wear running shorts?"

    We had a (rather uncivil) exchange of words in which he won out and strutted to the school in said shorts while I followed with our son, tutting away.

    This was not how I envisioned the day would go.

    When I was informed about the father-and-son sports day, I had visions of a warm and fuzzy affair as seen in TV ads hawking life insurance or children's milk powder.

    In my mind's eye, I saw my husband and five-year-old son running in a three-legged race along with other cute children. They would be racing in a field festooned with brightly coloured buntings, while the sun gently beamed down on everyone.

    The tight father-and-son bond they enjoy would help them to run together in rhythm. They would initially take the lead, but gasp, father and son would suddenly take a tumble.

    My husband would help the boy up, and together, showing indomitable sporting spirit, they would bravely limp to the finishing line while I stood on the sidelines, clapping and cheering for them, maybe wiping away a tear or two.

    It was not to be.

    On the day of the event, apart from the vulgar shorts squabble, the sun was not beaming gently down on us. Instead, it was taking bets on how much longer we could hold out in its roasting heat before crying out in surrender and rushing off in search of shade and air-conditioning.

    Cute and heartwarming father-and-child races? Nope. What we thought would be a jolly little competition turned out to be a pretty serious affair.

    All the daddies and kids in the school were split into three groups, and the determination the daddies displayed in trying to score for their teams was, well, steely.

    As we watched the other daddies speeding across the track, arms and legs a blur, I murmured to my (mostly sedentary) husband: "How are you going to compete with these people? They run so fast. I already told you to sign up with a personal trainer."

    But my son and husband did do me proud in the 100m relay race after all. They took the lead for a while, until my husband was suddenly overtaken by a daddy from a competing team who shot out like a missile and finished a split second before my husband.

    It was a good try, nonetheless. I did not shed any tears.

    The show of seriousness spilt over to the tyre relay, in which daddies had to roll a tyre to the other side of the court, where the kid was waiting to help daddy drag the tyre back to the starting line.

    Daddies were heard discussing strategies with the other fathers on their team. "Choose the lightest and smallest tyre," whispered one.

    All's fair in love and war - and school sports day.

    I punched my husband in the arm. "You go," I said.

    It was over in about a minute. I forgot to cheer them on at the finishing line. I was too busy watching the screen of my phone while I captured a video clip for posterity.

    The remaining races went off without a hitch. The team which my husband and son belonged to eventually came in "third winner" out of three teams or - as most people would put it - last.

    But we did get our aww-inducing, fuzzy, heartwarming moment during the prize-giving ceremony, in which every child was presented with a medal with the word "winner" stamped on it.

    The kids were also given medals that said "Super Dad", which they then hung around their daddies' necks.

    The day turned out to be good fun after all, and we walked off with two medals.

    My husband also woke up with a whopping backache the next day.

    I did tell him to sign up with a personal trainer.