Claudia Winkleman: Take It From Me

'My husband is at the gym constantly. He's even created special Sports Day chants to sing with our five-year-old'

Share

"You won't want to wear anything that chafes. That's all I'm saying," Lucy explained last Sunday. She wasn't talking about sex – and she wasn't talking about running the marathon. Actually, if she ever even suggests we consider running the marathon, I will know that she no longer knows me. I will have to pretend I have moved to another continent so she doesn't call to suggest we go hiking (hello?), lip-gloss buying (people who wear the shiny stuff actually scare me – watch them closely, these girls don't eat or talk or wear their hair down) or snowboarding (I mean, really – I'm Jewish, for God's sake).

"Chafes?" I asked, as my husband entered the room and said something along the lines of: "Guacamole. Nice. Want. Some. Kid. Likes. It." And Lucy said: "Sports Day, you fools. Listen, don't believe the hype. Yes, they'll tell you it's good for children to lose and that it's important they aren't always first and that they need to know life isn't only about winning and the rest. They'll say kids who can accept failure will be less let down in the future. But you know what? That's all tosh.

"What they haven't told you is that grown-ups don't like losing. Those mums and dads will be in the gym. Right now, as you guys are buttering your rolls, they will be pushing weights and they'll have set countdown clocks to Sports Day. Seriously, they're shouting WE'RE WINNERS and running up imaginary hills. Imagine 40 Kate Bushes – just running up that hill. They're cloudbusting, they're doing whatever they can to win. They'll be Sports Day Fit – there's no Pimm's for them till 25 June."

Green chunky cold dip was now sliding down my husband's chin and his mouth was agape.

"Um. It's just a small school. And you know, he's five..." I attempted to cut in.

"Fact is, you only get one shot. And then it stays with you for the rest of the year. Not to mention your kids. Dad came last at the egg-and-spoon. Duh. Moron. I don't care if your child can spell and loves Roald Dahl and wants to sing 'The Bells of St Clements' at the top of his lungs as he walks along the street. If you're in the last five or six on Sports Day then you're turning him into a loser. 'Uh, I wasn't really focused in the sack event' turns into 10 years on a therapist's couch with the unanswered question hanging in the air, 'Why didn't she get into the zone? For me? Why was that so tough? Why was she looking at what the other mothers brought for the picnic?'"

All I could think of saying was: "Give me some of that guacamole." Like a full-fat pot of something that can look a little bit like Shrek sick was going to help.

"And another thing. Don't get all 'the-fun-is-in-the-taking-part'. You know what that is?"

"Um. True?"

"Bull. That's what that is. Bull."

"I see."

"Life isn't a dress rehearsal, guys. It's your first Sports Day, so you needed to know. Someone had to tell you the facts of life." And with that she was off her stool and pretending to be normal again. She looked the same, all pretty and smiley and we ate pizza and did some chatting. But something had happened and the world had changed.

There it was – out in the open. Sports Day was not fun. I had planned on a bag of apples and some cheese sandwiches. I was going to wear any old thing and bring the baby. My husband was taking three hours out of work, he'd charged the camera and he was coming in a suit. Now the "family races" that looked so innocent on the brightly coloured "What To Know About Sports Day!" booklet seemed ominous.

As well as the egg-and-spoon and the sack race and the usual 100m dash, there was also a sibling race mentioned. Now, his sister is two and she's, uh, I don't know how to put this, a bit slow. She will run for a strawberry ice cream and she'll run for a baby rabbit (dabbit), but otherwise she wants to be on someone's shoulders or window-shopping from a Maclaren (and who can blame her).

There was silence on the way home. "Well, we're going to have to get her up to scratch," said my husband.

"She's two," I said.

"No excuse, babe. You heard Luce. We're not going to let him down."

So now my husband is at the gym every day. He and the five-year-old have created Sports Day chants, and the toddler is having to get from the front door to the top floor in less than 30 seconds to earn her breakfast.

"Are you seriously not going to compete with the will to win?" he asked last night, as he bench-pressed off the side of the bed. He was wearing a sweatband and a T-shirt that he's had made at Snappy Snaps. It reads: "Eat Dust Form One Dads", and then, on the back: "The Cup is Mine."

I didn't know what to say. I didn't know how to explain that I would do anything for my five-year-old. If that meant going to the gym nine hours a day, I would do it. If I thought I had any physical attributes that meant I wouldn't come in last, I'd do it (see first paragraph). But I'm just not sporty; I have freakishly short legs and teeny tiny lungs. "I won't let him down," I said as he drank a raw egg and hummed the Rocky theme tune.

Sports Day is tomorrow. Now, I'm not fit, but I am a good cheat. Who says I can't stick the egg to the spoon? The Blu-Tack's in my pocket. See you at the start line.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Piper Ryan Randall leads a pro-Scottish independence rally in the suburbs of Edinburgh  

i Editor's Letter: Britain survives, but change is afoot

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Some believe that David Cameron is to blame for allowing Alex Salmond a referendum  

Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?

Mark Steel
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam