Yes, I may have disgraced myself at the school sports day. But I will be back

I got quite upset when she was beaten in the egg and spoon race, and accused the winner of cheating
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The Independent Online

With the recent arrival of our second child, Jackson, I have been forced to become a little more proactive in the fatherhood department. No longer can I slope off to the nether wings of the mansion leaving poor Stacey holding the baby. Two children mean two parents - my holidays are over.

With the recent arrival of our second child, Jackson, I have been forced to become a little more proactive in the fatherhood department. No longer can I slope off to the nether wings of the mansion leaving poor Stacey holding the baby. Two children mean two parents - my holidays are over.

I managed to avoid school sports day last year by claiming that my old Vietnam knee injury had flared up. I didn't get it in the war. I fell off a scooter while there on holiday. Nevertheless, I normally try not to let the truth get in the way of a good war story if someone looks gullible enough. Sadly, Stacey knows the truth and I was on a three-line whip this year. I sneaked into the doctor's a week ago to try and swap some Tippex thinners for an off-games note. He gave me short shrift. So last Wednesday found me cast as the condemned man being led to the school playing fields.

It started OK, with some coffee and polite chit-chat with other parents about how brilliant our respective children were. I got quite carried away and told one dad that Parker was taking four GCSEs this year. Considering that she is only three and a half years old, I thought that he would be quite impressed. He wasn't. He called me a liar and claimed that I had nearly run his dog over two weeks ago when I was teaching Parkie the joys of off-roading. I backed away quickly, hid in a corner and downed three strong coffees.

By the time we all wandered out on to the actual fields of play I was feeling quite edgy.

I plonked myself down by the finishing line to try and get some pictures of my little sports star sprinting down the track. Unfortunately, I got quite upset when she was beaten in the egg and spoon race, and accused the winner of cheating. I demanded to check her egg as I was convinced it was glued to her spoon. A teacher took me aside and asked me to refrain from swearing in front of the children. I tried to relax by necking the contents of my hip flask. I've never had much of a head for brandy, and I was plastered within minutes. I tried to get a chant of "you're going home in an ambulance" going as the runners and riders got ready for the slalom but a withering look from Stacey put a stop to that. I lay down on the grass determined to have a kip but they selfishly announced the start of the fathers' race. Because I'd passed out on the starting line it was assumed that I would be taking part. I found it difficult to disabuse anyone of this notion as I was finding it quite difficult to say anything coherent.

I stood up rather gingerly, only to find myself in the midst of large group of anxious-looking men huddled in front of a baying crowd of mothers and little kids. The starter's gun sounded and I propelled myself forward in the vague direction of the finishing line. Sadly, no one had the courtesy to tell my legs and I went arse over tit into the grass about a metre down the course. From between the blades I could just about see the disappointed little face of my gorgeous daughter who, just moments before, had been proudly pointing out her dad to her little friends.

When it was all over she and I walked back to the school together. She held my hand in a rather sweet way and told me not to worry. Apparently she was not embarrassed by my performance. Stacey was less convinced. She lagged behind with Jackson trying not to let anyone know we were together. When we got home she told me that I didn't have to come next year if I didn't fancy it.

On sober reflection, I've decided that I will be back. I've hired this excellent Bulgarian trainer to pump me full of performance-enhancing drugs. I'll show them.

I actually think the Olympics should be like that. Every athlete could have the right to his or her own scientist standing behind them at the starting blocks to inject them with a little pick-me-up before the event. Total Olympics, I call it. Actually, it's not a bad idea. I think I might contact Channel Five.

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