Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Scouts Swimming Gala Event

st james church milton pews and embroidered cushionsSaturday at last so I woke up at 1025, just 5 minutes before the fair at the church where I do Scouts. I voluntarily put on my scout uniform and played roll-the-coin a few times and entered the meat raffle but there was precious little else to do unless you're a granny who likes tea and cakes.
Jof told us to take a load of assorted stuff to the charity shop so we drove to Southsea and went in the hoity butchers and bought Jof some blue cheese which will make her feel guilty but she'll eat it anyway.
Then I watched Commando again while chores happened, and then I watched Stargate to make it a double bill.
We've been looking forward to the Scouts swimming gala for ages because my group gets to compete against the JB's group, not that the parents are competitive or anything.
Sadly due to paranoia and witch-huntery, I can't have a photo of the event, because stifling pool rules prohibit it. Written on the natural assumption that people will perform unspeakable acts when confronted with wide-angle imagery of distant children in swimsuits in a team event, it means I'll just have to remember it. In 25 years, when I'm an Olympic champion, I dread having the following conversation with my own kid.
"Daddy, can I see a picture of you winning an event when you were my age?"
"Yes, son. Here is a picture of my trophy. We couldn't do it on Leisure Centre property, so it's taken in the car park of a nearby Tyre and Exhaust workshop."
"But Daddy, what's that blobby thing?"
"It's my hand, sticking out from behind a brick wall. And I had to wear a gluten-free glove, which had to be pixellated. And I had to be identified as Child C. I was proud to join a long line of happy Child Cs."
mountbatten centre portsmouth scout swimming competitionJof heroically joined us even though she'd had a gruelling day at work trying to please angry customers and then sell them stuff, and we drove through the night to the Mountbatten Centre. The Scout leaders met the contestants and took us through to 'Poolside' where we sat in numbered groups and babbled happily to ourselves.
The swimming pool area is absolutely ace although sauna-like - I just love the big curved roof beams and the echoes are funny - and we sat obediently and waited for our events, and when you see there's 46 events and 13 competing scout groups and oodles of contestants, it is a logistical nightmare for those lucky activity organisers.
We all got colour-coded hats, my lot were dull dark and the JBs were bright pink, I'm saying nothing.
mountbatten centre portsmouth swimming poolBut kids were directed to the leaping-off zones and the hooter blared and races were raced and bit by bit my turn came round and I came second in the backstroke first-round race which meant I was into the final! The top 2 go through.
Robert and Johnny also came second so were through to the finals but Ben got fear of failure and got in a state poor chap and went home. The under-12s went in the long lanes at the deep end but us cubs did widths in the shallow bit, there were a few also-swims (not also-rans) but mostly the standard was very high. Finlay also had fear-of-being-told-off-for-failure and sat sobbing at the side.
In other parts of the rather splendid sports complex our venture scout Ryan raised ticket money to fly to the Scout Jamboree in Japan and there was a judo competition in the sports hall where I got Richard Kiel's autograph.
In the end, Robert did well and Johnny got first prize in the relay even though he had to stop and pull his trunks back up, no pictures of this incident are available.
mcdonalds fratton way portsmouth serving areaI was in the backstroke finals and came 5th, ahead of Samuel who is in my swimming lessons group but way behind Eddie F from my class at school who won it! He is the happy chap in green in the first picture.
Johnny's group was strong on girls who seem to be better swimmers than the boys.
This Scouts lark is a real crossover thing because you get to meet familiar faces from all facets of your life, from Gym, Swim, Class, Park, everything, amazing how many people you know in this town. In fact, our Scout Group Leader bought his house off Erin. He gave me a special award for being the only cub to not go off on one. Because my group had finished early due to lack of Venture Scouts, I got changed relatively quickly and Jof kept mentioning food in the car all the way home so we agreed on a MacDorgels and we had naughty burger and chip-type meals to make up for all that exercise, honest, and watched Futurama and football, knowing that I didn't have to get up tomorrow, hurrah!

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