Friday, January 27, 2012

Bent Arm Throw?????????

Wills gets selected to represent his school at "The Head Start Friendship Games" and in true Indus style that is the only information we get and that only two days before the meet. Wills wants to go. It's a day out of the classroom but he is a little tentative so I volunteer to accompany him - it is a new experience after all!

The day starts out well. The school bus picks up at various locations around the city (on time and calling ahead to ensure kids are in place for pick up). Wills jumps on the bus, immediately seeing kids from all grades he appears to know, disappears to the back row. I am left with the other abandoned parents near the front. Breakfast boxes are even distributed - bananas, chips, juice box and jam sandwiches. Coach Sir (the kids call all their teachers Miss or Sir, so to differentiate between them Wills adds their subject - so we have Art Sir, Music Miss etc.) seems to have all under control!

We arrive at this huge stadium in central Bangalore where buses of kids in different school PE uniforms are disembarking and pouring into the stadium.

We then find out that Wills is not running (I had thought as he won both running golds in the school sports day that would be his event) - but apparently the age on the day of the competition is all important and as he just turned 7, he now goes in with most of second grade. As he hadn't raced against them to prove (or not) his speed he wasn't picked. He was chosen for the relay but as they had a no-show and the kids participating can't be changed once their names have been submitted they had to pull the team. So Wills was left with the "Bent Arm Throw" - I had no idea at this point what this was, neither did Wills! At Indus they throw a tennis ball over arm and ahead of them! It transpires that as the under 10's are too young to do the shot putt they do this instead. I have since googled "bent arm throw" and nothing came to light. I am now thinking this is going to be an extremely long day and a waste of time!!

The event opens with the traditional march past. Each school is lined up behind their flag and marches round the track. It actually looks quite impressive. In typical Indian style there is a strange mixture of the over and under organized. The umpires, starters and measurers are elderly looking gentlemen in blazers and caps with the insignia of the Karnataka Athletic Club adorning them and are very officious. And also true to style, there is a guy scuttling up and down the spectator area with a huge urn of chai - 4 rupees a cup, truly delicious and altho' I am the only white parent to partake I get warm and remain healthy!!,

Through the morning there are sprints for all ages - cheers of delight and also some tears. The kids are pretty fast - some with spikes and some barefoot. It's great the mixture of schools participating, the "wealth" of the kids being obvious from the quantity of co-ordinated uniform and the footwear. The kids are having a blast - the stadium is huge, the coaches are busy getting the kids competing at that moment to the right place, the parents chatting, so the remaining kids are free to roam!

At about mid-day the "Bent Arm Throw" is summoned to the registration desk, competitors walked in line to the designated area and Wills learns what to do. You stand backwards and hold a fairly heavy soccer sized ball, do a few warm moves, bending knees and lifting ball over your head and then on third rotation fling it backwards. Wills sits their unfazed and I'm sort of not really bothering with my camera as I'm not expecting much -just hoping he doesn't release the ball forwards by mistake and hit someone. Coach sir, thinking maybe I'm not looking too happy, tells me if Wills can throw forwards he can throw backwards!! The other boys are doing warm-up exercises and generally looking well rehearsed. On his first of three throws Wills ambles up, takes his position and casually throws the ball as demonstrated - amazingly, it's a huge throw. The guy with the measuring tape has to jump out of the way, even the other parents watching mutter in approval and Wills gets gold!

Once again in true Indian style, even tho' the event is behind schedule there has to be a formal lunch break. Coach sir brings out lunch boxes for the kids and we eat. Same contents of box as breakfast.

Then more and more events - relays which take for ever  - getting the kids to the right place round the track seemingly very complex. Lots more cheers amongst the dropped batons!

We have to wait to the end of the day so Wills can get his gold, which he gets to hold for a few seconds until Coach Sir requisitions it so Wills can be re - presented with it at a school assembly.

Having been out of the house for nearly 10 hours to witness Wills performing for all of 5 minutes, I have been to my one athletic meet in Bangalore - next one Wills goes solo!!!

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