Bite Size Memoir Number 4: Sports Day

Thank you so much everyone for your lovely responses to my first bite size memoir post last week, you really encouraged me!

So, carrying on, here is my next 150 word memoir written up for Lisa’s ‘Sports Day‘ prompt for this week.  Hope you like.

Sports Day

When I was ten I changed schools and despite being the product of a ‘broken home’, I thrived at my new village primary school. Sports Day was one of my favourite events. We earned ribbons for winning and I won the 50-yard dash and was thrilled.

By high school my competitive edge really kicked in. I got the chance to compete in the high jump, long jump, javelin and yes, the running. By then I had progressed beyond 50 yards to the 100, 200, 400 relay and even the hurdles.

A dark-haired girl, Carolyn, tied with me at every race.

We urged each other on to run faster and faster. When we ran on the same relay team I imagined that we were running at the Olympics for Great Britain. The crowd roared and cheered. We did it!

I was sad that my dad wasn’t there to cheer me on.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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53 Responses to Bite Size Memoir Number 4: Sports Day

  1. bulldog says:

    Surely someone was there for you???

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Well, to be honest Bulldog, I don’t think my parents really ‘did’ sports day, but my dad was missing from my life anyway so I put that in as my ‘writerly’ way because I don’t remember my dad being there for anything that was important to me after my parents split up…still, that didn’t stop me from winning my races, haha 😀

      Like

      • bulldog says:

        I did most of my sport at boarding school and my parents did their best to be there when they could but that was not very often… my athletics at provincial level and for my country were always too far from my parents that just could not afford to be there but I always had an uncle or aunt or mostly the current girlfriend… Sorry you were not supported it did improve my performance when someone was there… I had a high jump record that lasted for 28 years that I was very proud of.. my Mom was there to see me set it,,,,

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        That’s a great story Bulldog, I love that your mom was there to see you set your high jump record like that, amazing, for 28 years! A great achievement! I loved athletics and would have loved to have gone further, no doubt about it. I did a lot of gymnastics too and earned a few badges for that. But, as with all things, other things get in the way…and my mum was and is there for me in many other ways and at other important events in my life so I don’t mind about sports day! 🙂

        Like

  2. Lisa Reiter says:

    Lovely happy build up – I’m taken along enjoying a shared competitive streak and then gasp – A little catch in my throat with your last line! Clever stuff. Thank you, Sherri.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Glad you liked it Lisa, and I’m glad I got it in just in time too… you see, there’s that competitive streak rearing up again, haha, which yes, I see we share! Looking forward to reading the compilation later… and thank you very much for your lovely comment 🙂

      Like

  3. What a great memory, Sherri! I remember running the 50-yard dash. I was pretty good as well, but not so much with the longer distances. Oh, the hurdles…I was scared of those. 🙂
    I’m sorry too, that your dad wasn’t there. xo

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Same with me Jill, I was hopeless at the longer distances, just didn’t have the puff for it! Looking back, I really don’t know how I did the hurdles, but I remember really liking it! Go figure… 😉
      Ahh…well, that is very sweet of you Jill, thank you. I find it fascinating with writing how it takes you along and shows you the way it will go and then how it changes along the way. I wasn’t going to end it like that initially but that’s where it took me… xo

      Like

      • Yes, that’s what is great about writing, often it can take you some place you never imagined. That’s why I’m resisting outlines…but I’m learning the hard way, I might need one. 🙂
        Oh, the hurtles…the toe of my tennis shoe got hooked on one and I went flying and SPLAT! 😦

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          Ouch!!! Oh Jill, that sounds horrible! No wonder you didn’t like hurdles… 😦
          I sprained my ankles more times than I can remember doing the high jump from landing badly and wished I could have flipped backwards like they do today!
          Ahh yes…outlines. Good to have one to refer back to to keep you on target I’m guessing but then you have the flexibility to move away if other ideas begin to grow…maybe sometimes too much! A great point, thanks 🙂 xo

          Like

  4. There is such joy in running!

    It’s true, that in our joy and triumph, we notice what’s missing. To miss an absent parent is so, so hard on a child.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Isn’t there just! I wish I could run now though! Instead, I just walk fast… 😉
      Part of me wonders Tracy if I pushed myself more because of the fact that my dad was absent in my life for those special moments. Who knows…but yes, it is very hard on a child. As I shared with Jill, I hadn’t intended to end it like this but this is what had to be written and it felt right. So I obeyed 😉

      Like

  5. Such talent and vigor for life wants to be shared. It’s natural. That last line hit pretty hard. Ouch.
    Great writing, though. ❤

    Like

  6. Heyjude says:

    I enjoyed this – I could see you as a little girl running and then as you grew older becoming more competitive, but always something missing.

    Something else we have in common – I changed schools at age 10 too, and I loved high jump and running. Discus was my field event and I was crap at long jump… 😀

    Oh and neither of my parents ever attended sports day!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ooooh….you are very perceptive Jude, but I know that’s not the first time I’ve said that to you… 😉 You are soooo right of course…
      That’s so interesting that we have the change of schools in common at the same age…and I had a bash at the discus too, but don’t think I was any good at it… I sprained my ankle more times than I care to remember doing the high jump and always wanted to do it by flipping backwards like they do now but that wasn’t allowed… 😦
      I don’t think parents did it much back then did they? So different to today…I went to every single school event for my kids, alone as their father was always working…but I’m so glad I did. Got the pictures to prove it, haha 🙂

      Like

  7. Great memories, Sherri. I used to run rather well too in the 50 and 100 yards. Oh to be young again. 😀 My parents never went to our sports days. I guess they were both to busy working to keep food on the table. 😦

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Sylvia, and I can imagine you running well! Wouldn’t it be great to be able to run again? I haven’t done that for years, now I just walk fast, lol 🙂
      It seems to be a common thread here about our parents not coming to our sports days, I don’t think it was seen as that important back in the day, with other things, as you say, getting in the way. Certainly it wasn’t encouraged…
      I put that in about my dad as he was absent from everything in my life after my parents split up and it was the way the writing took me today…all part of life, life’s rich pattern… 😉

      Like

  8. longandluxe says:

    Dear Sherri,

    What a talent you have for drawing us in! I was feeling the wind on my face running relay with you then Bam. Hit the wall with you in the end. Your heart and spirit and vulnerability are breathtaking.

    Thank you for sharing your story. All our hearts are with you.

    A thousand blessings to you, dear one.

    Allison xoxo hugs!!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Writing is such a wonderful thing isn’t it Allison? The challenge of being able to ‘go with the flow’, letting it lead, and then the punch, the kicker, the truth that needs to be said, surges out, begging to be let loose and written out where it can bleed. See…just reading your words here gets those juices flowing!
      My dad, an alcoholic, has been absent from all the important times in my life since my parents split up but I never thought about sports day until I wrote this short memoir…so we write and write some more and there it is…what has never actually left us tells a story that needs to be told…
      Ahh…well, I thank you so much dear Allison for your kindness and I’ll take a thousand blessings any day of the week…and I send them right back to you…right now… 😀 ❤ 🙂

      Like

  9. suej says:

    Great story, Sherri, as ever 🙂

    Like

  10. Pingback: Sports Report! | Lisa Reiter - Sharing the Story

  11. Kev says:

    Sounds like it was really exhilarating! 🙂

    Like

  12. Sounds like we all ran in the relays and shorter distances while growing up. Ah, those were the days!
    When my daughter was three, she took off running across one day. Several of us scattered to cut her off before she got to streets, etc., but it was amazing, watching her little arms pump as her legs leapt and kicked. The look of absolute joy on her face was priceless.
    I can imagine that look on your face when you were running, Sherri. It was your father’s loss that he wasn’t there to see it.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, those were the days indeed Marylin! And I love how you shared this delightful story about your daughter running like this, determined to get through you all no matter what…and yes, I suppose that would have been me running like that. I felt so free when I ran like that. I wish I could do it now!!
      Thank you dear Marylin, yes, sadly, my dad has missed out on so much…

      Like

  13. I’m glad you found some joy in those sports days, despite your dad not being around. I was never the sporty type!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Andrea, I did enjoy it very much despite everything. I didn’t have many expectations of my dad being there, just life. Still..would have been nice now and then… 😉

      Like

  14. simplyilka says:

    Thanks for sharing this memory! I remember how important it was to run next to a fast runner. It was important to have someone pulling you along and getting the very best out of you. I guess in some way that still counts until today. We are just running differently.

    It must have been amazing to run at the ‘Olympics’ 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, it really was great to have the competition like that, we used to push each other on all the time and were nearly always a tie! It was great when I finally beat her, haha 🙂 Thank you Ilka, I did enjoy my ‘Olympics’ very much… 🙂

      Like

  15. Denise says:

    Such an ebullient post with your love of sports. It’s a really vivid description and I can picture this determined little girl with an astonishing talent… I have never been able to run fast (only for a long time) and have great envy of what it must feel like to be the winner of a race!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Well I have a great admiration for anyone who can run the distance Denise, which I can’t do, so I think that’s great! I did love running fast though, it really was exhilarating. Even now I dream that I can do it and I feel as if I really am…so freeing and liberating 🙂

      Like

  16. Through your blog I keep learning more and more about you! I can just picture you running your heart out! Loved how the you and girl were encouraging each other! Well my amazing friend have a lovely weekend!! ❤

    Like

  17. lilkaraphael says:

    I so enjoyed that! The thrill of youth comes shining through and then that last line…
    I hate you had to experience that Sherri, but it made for some great writing! I admire all of you athletes out there. I was always the little bookworm waiting for Phys Ed. class to be over! I never could run worth anything but I get by walking pretty fast 🙂 Lilka

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…well, I did love ahtletics and gymnastics Lilka but my daughter hated it and she found PE so hard. I felt for her because the teacher always insisted that she take part and she dreaded it. Of course, she struggles with coordination which wasn’t picked up, along with her Asperger’s….hey ho…
      Still, all these experiences such as with my absent dad do indeed make for good wriiting ideas but I was surprised that that came out the way it did…it wasn’t the way it was going to go… isn’t writing exciting?
      Thanks you Lilka, so glad you enjoyed this…have a blessed, peaceful weekend my friend 🙂
      PS Nothing wrong with being a bookworm…I love it ❤

      Like

  18. Rachel M says:

    My Dad always wanted to come to sports days but I hated having him there so I usually kept them secret. I used to compete in high jump and was quite good at it but really hated the pressure and having spectators made me more nervous.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      I can imagine you being good at the high jump Rachel and yes, I can understand you being nervous. I used to play the flute and was so nervous if I knew my mum was there… 😉

      Like

  19. Mahesh Nair says:

    The last line came out of nowhere and yet it made such an impact. Beautiful!

    Like

  20. jennypellett says:

    Ah, sports day, I remember those! When kids were allowed to compete and win, where, if you came in last, you weren’t told that everyone’s a winner – it was suggested that next time you might try a bit harder. Did that affect a generation of children? Did it heck. It made winning all the sweeter knowing that you, for a few seconds, had achieved better than anyone else. Saying that, I always had to make do with second in the running races – my friend Sally always pipped me to the post!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, that’s right Jenny, when we actually were encouraged to compete and win and got something for it! It did indeed make winning much sweeter and something to aim for next time. I think it made us more resilient and able to handle life when it isn’t fair that much better. This modern-day sense of entitlement is all wrong. Haha, your friend Sally sounds like my friend Carolyn…I was so happy when I finally beat her!!!
      Will be over to your blog shortly… 🙂

      Like

  21. We tried to attend all our daughters events and now we go to as many of our 8 grandkids. I love it and while it may make them a little more nervous knowing we are watching them, I know that when they are grown, they will remember we had always been there for them. Win or lose, we cheer them on. I don’t agree with making all participants winners either. I believe the winners are those who have actually won. The others can be applauded for being brave enough to participate, but that’s not the same as a “winner”.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      How wonderful that you went to all your daughter’s events and now your grandkids too! They will surely remember this and always hold those precious memories in their hearts. You were and there for them, so important!
      Yes, I agree about winning. It’s very important that winners are applauded. What is the point of striving to win and do your best if not? Sometimes it’s not enough just to show up as is being taught young children today. It’s such a shame. Healthy competition is a great thing and should be encouraged. Life isn’t fair and how can kids learn how to handle life if they are being taught that ‘everyone’s a winner’? It should make us work even harder at least to try. Well, I’ll get off my soapbox now!
      Thanks for your great comment Donna 😀

      Like

  22. tieshka says:

    Hi Sherri- I really enjoyed this bite sized memoir. It was such a great moment- and then the mention of your dad made me think we all want support and love- which isn’t always possible.

    As a parents, my husband and I always try to catch the kids ‘important moments’ at school… They do remember, just as you remember in this case your dad not being present.

    On that note my little one graduated from preschool yesterday. I was one proud mama!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Tieshka, I’m really glad you enjoyed reading it. I made sure to be at all my kids’ events as they do very much remember and I believe it is very important. It shows we are supporting them every step of the way. I wish my dad had been there for me but sadly he never was. But nothing I can do about that now…except I made the choice not to do the same to my kids.
      How happy you are, and congratulations to your little one…I remember those graduations so very well! You are one proud mama indeed!
      Have a great weekend 😎

      Like

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