It is a truth universally acknowledged that the biggest assholes at an elementary school sports day are the parents of the first graders. They are young, fast, and everything is still new and they will get those photos/videos at all costs.
To make matters worse, they bring along grandparents who are just as deadly because they’ve reached the age where they just don’t care.
Today was especially bad. There was even a judging controversy.
Today was our youngest’s last sports day in elementary school which meant she had a lot to do which meant I had a lot of pictures to take. As a rule, She Who Must Be Obeyed takes video and I take still pictures. We have battle plan of sorts that involves finding out approximately where our youngest will be at any given moment. I always set up my tripod at the back of the zone of tarps. This lets me get good camera angles and puts me standing behind a zone where people usually sit.
In general, most parents are fairly well behaved. Not today. Today there were a lot of assholes around.
The tarp zone, which is usually one solid zone of tarps, had lots of small dirt gaps of several inches. This meant that any gap was a free zone where people could stand and the people behind could be damned.
Luckily, I only was interested in a few events, but even those were complicated by women who brought parasols to protect their skin from the sun.
I can forgive all this, though, because, as a parent, I understand the urge to get as many pictures as possible.
The next level of asshole is the professional asshole who gets to roam around the field taking pictures where ever he wants and always manages to get in the way.
However, even I can forgive that. Sort of.
What I can’t forgive, is the asshole mother in the designated photo section. She had kid in her arms but no camera. She was up against the rope when she should have been toward the back. She was talking to her friend and kept bumping into me as I tried to take shots.
I kept my cool, but I asked She Who Must Be Obeyed what “Take a picture or get the fuck out” was in Japanese but she rather vehemently refused to translate for me.
To make matters worse, there was a judging controversy. Going into the final event–the big ball race–our youngest’s team was behind but was in striking distance of victory.
In the race, all members of each of the two teams help pass a large inflated ball down the line to a final resting place. I noticed right away that the teams seemed to be operating under different rules.
When the white team dropped the ball, they had to bring it back to the place it had touched the ground and start from there. The red team, though, was allowed to pick the ball up from where it had stopped and continue from there. I thought it might be a delusion created by my own parental bias, but it turned out an asshole was involved.
The red team won two races in a row and secured the overall victory. However, the judges for the white team had misunderstood the rules. Because part of each team is little kids who are shorter than the ball, they are allowed to roll the ball rather than try to keep it in the air. The asshole judge, however, insisted they move a “dropped” ball back and start from the drop point it had started rolling.
Next year’s sports day will be our youngest’s first in junior high school. There usually aren’t many assholes there, but we’ll see.