Monday, June 16, 2014

Schools events are different

From the organisational point of view, schools championships are very different from the usual club and league matches. Over the years things have changed a good deal but still the difference is quite marked.

It used to be the case that Avon Schools was organised by teachers and a few qualified officials were drafted in to help out. Now, the main organisation is done by athletics people (in fact, this year, by Lesley) and a few teachers are persuaded out on a Saturday to do their bit. Successive governments have buggered up school sport so badly that now teachers stand on their contracts and do very little for kids outside school hours. One wonders whether they would ever have decided to be PE teachers if it weren't for the time THEIR teachers gave up on Saturday mornings.


Lesley has spent every waking hour for the last week or longer putting together the organisation of Saturday's championship. In fact, longer than that if you include putting together the details of how it was going to be run and sending them out to teachers in the four districts. it was quite obvious that one district (unnamed, but it wasn't South Gloucestershire or Bristol or North Somerset) hadn't read them because they set about it completely differently. Collecting the entries in (one district was very late and claimed they didn't know who to send them to! Unnamed but it wasn't S.Glos, or Bristol or BANES), creating start lists and lane draws, a results program, getting in the athletes that their schools don't know about, getting officials, organising first aid cover. The weekend before she discovered that YOSC hadn't got the booking on their books - so that had to be chased up, photocopies produced from the file, endless phone calls to the other committee members - and on and on and on.

Come the day, she may give the impression of being all serenity and effortless control, but underneath she's working away like mad.

So what of the athletics? There were some cracking races. Lauren Bleaken, qualifying for Avon for the first time, having moved to City of Bath College (much to Lesley's delight) looked imperious in her race. So did Mark Cottam in his. But there is a slight mystery here. We all saw Mark run at Yate on Saturday, but according to Power of 10 he was running in Birmingham at the same time, but in a slower time. No answer to hand for that little puzzle so far.

So what is Lesley doing now? Relaxing under an umbrella in the garden with a book? Lying down in a darkened room? No. Selection letters for next Saturday have gone off; the entry for SW Schools has been done; the preliminary entry for English Schools is coming along.....

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As a student I worked in a hotel in Devon. We waiters worked in pairs, sharing a work station, and my partner was an Italian called Giorgio....