Tuesday, 11 October 2011
...was the cry at the sports stadium today in Chavagnes-en-Paillers. We had been invited to the local school's cross country running day, the Ecole Ste Marie. They have about 300-350 children. We have about 40. They were so kind and gentle, and it was so good of them to invite us. Simply taking part in the activities of a larger school is participation enough. After all we are all winners. Aren't we?
Nonsense of course!
Mr McDermott whipped the boys into a frenzy of honour and glory by promising an untold number of HousePoints (THE currency of note) if we won races.
I abolished grace after lunch and instead we begged Almighty God to send His angels and saints to come and vanquish our enemies, and our opponents.
We kept the Blessed Virgin on side by saying ('shouting' might be closer - perhaps 'saying with passion and emotion') three Hail Marys in her honour, a blessing and then 'Men of Chavagnes, to victory and glory!'
As I said, just the taking part is enough for these things!
So we won one race and were third in another. Not bad really when we are so few and they so many. We looked the business, however, as our boys were in whites, white shorts and white tops. The others were just in anything. It looks just so much smarter. It is the same with uniforms. Even when our boys wear them as if they have been appearing on 'Put your clothes on as quickly as possible in the dark using only a duck and a table spoon - the new early evening entertainment game for all the family' they still look better than Johnny Cool in purple and green.
And I must also say, terribly old liberal that I am, that I was so proud of some of the boys, who were last, or close to last, that they ran it all. They pounded round and didn't give up. And what was even better was that the other boys cheered them through the line.
Truly the angels and saints were with us, and I'm sure I saw Our Lady trip up a boy who was gaining on one of ours. Well, she would, wouldn't she?