Who needs an award anyway?


When I was a kid, one hundred or so years ago, awards at school tended to be restricted to those who performed superlatively at sports.

Linda Moger, who could run a long distance race in the time it took me to get woman-jogging-blur-1429021-1599x2132to the fish and chip shop for scraps on a sneaky lunchtime leave of absence from school. (I just Googled Linda and there she is, still in Southampton, still running – now in Race for Life. All power, Linda).

Netball Sonia Richards, who was bustiest blonde netball GA ever in the whole universe. It’s true. Her beautifully poised shots had the whole team frozen in awe, let alone the opponents.

Karen Wilson whose javelin throwing took the school records to new heights (and lengths). I was a poor sequel to Karen when she left for sixth form, although I once achieved second place in Southampton School Athletics, mainly because only one other competitor turned up on the day.

Sports supremoes deserve awards. They are the rightful gods and goddesses of a school, in charge of the honour of the entire school against every other dastardly (and no doubt poor) educational establishment in the local area. Or at least, they were.

Now it seems there are awards for everything. How about the award for being the smiliest student that ever walked the planet? Or the award for being a pain in the arse and getting away with it. The award for managing to get to school every day, rain, snow, floods and scarlet fever notwithstanding. The award for never having missed the school bus. I know someone who was never going to win that one. Eh, daughter?

But of course, it doesn’t matter what the award is for. When the winner of the award is announced, it will be from a particular cohort of children. The shining ones, the blessed. I discovered recently that even the children who win awards have been heard to say “It’s always the same people….”.

Blessed onesI am delighted for the blessed. I know many of them at our local school and they are, without a doubt, deserving.

But the whole culture can create a have/have not scenario. As in those that have an award to pin to their corkboard or place on their bookshelf, and those that don’t. The award winners are the ones that will go on to do well (we know this because we have been told).

Is it just me, or does this not infer that those who never win awards, and there are many, are less likely to amount to anything?  Just me, then.

There may be a tiny chip on my shoulder here for the lack of trophies gained during my own school life. Though I did actually win an award at primary school, I’ll have you know. It was a Platinum Pen award for the best illustration of a poem. And indeed, I won a Platinum Pen (from the cheaper end of the range).

Did this award mean that I went on to do well?

One thing’s for sure, it was not as an illustrator.


Queue Jumping and (almost) Sweet Revenge

TaikoRecently I took the teen to see a Taiko drumming group, Mugenkyo. It was a Sunday night and a special treat for him, and me. We arrived in good time, and he said he really fancied a hot chocolate.
The queuing system at the bar was undefined – it seemed there was one queue for hot drinks and another for the main bar. The folk behind me appeared bemused, too, so I suggested they moved ahead of me if they wanted drinks from the bar, which they did, soon walking back past me with their drinks.
I stood patiently in my ‘hot drink’ queue with the teenager for a very long time. The man in front of me was getting antsy, and I was feeling a little fidgety, especially when I realised that there was in fact no separate queue. If I’d gone to the main bar I would have been served much more quickly.
Finally it was my turn and a pleasant barman took my order. Further along the bar, a lady spoke out in that loud type of whisper that can be so, so irritating. “She pushed in!” I realised she was referring to me, and I turned full sail, as it were, glared at the woman and boomed in my best Lady Bracknell, “I DID NOT push in! I’ve been waiting here patiently for a very long time!”
The woman, who was with a thin, balding man (saying that gives me pleasure I’m afraid), looked visibly shocked. “Calm down,” she said. Calm down? That was a red rag to a bull. I can’t remember my exact response but the teen asked me to hush (although he agreed later with my actions, admitting the woman was ‘very rude’).
During the show we sat five or six rows behind the couple. It took me a while to calm down from the queue debacle. The loud drumming helped, or maybe not. The biggest distraction was my burning desire to grab a handful of Josh’s sweets, Skittles, and rain them down upon the silly woman and her baldy partner.

 Now that would have been ‘sweet revenge’.

Hormonal Armageddon

Everyone knows that teenage children are hard work. Moods, spots, lethargy. Locked bathroom doors and grunting. Screaming heebeejeebee demands for a new pair of bleached jeans at 10pm on a Wednesday BECAUSE IT’S MUFTI ON FRIDAY! (Thank goodness for Next’s next day delivery).

Try coping with all of this when you’re fighting with hormonal hysteria at the other end of life. This is what we ‘older mums’ are having to tussle with.Trying to hold it all together while our own brains do their best to turn to mush.

Not so many years ago a mum would have waved her kids out of the door by the time the menopause struck – to uni, work or married life. Now we have hormones going barmy in sync. My daughter is 15, my son 13. When we get hormonal at the same time it’s like Armageddon.

I’m not surprised the man of the house is now the man of the shed.