Monday 10 January 2011

Winners and losers

While I am (still) delighted for Phoebe's triumph (see below), I am a bit against the whole voting-for-form-captain thing. I am all for winners and losers. After all, that's what a lot of life is about (and as writers, don't we know it!), and kids need to get used to it. I think the new custom of having neither winners nor losers at school sports days is ridiculous. Kids aren't stupid. They know when they can't run fast, jump high, or whatever. I was so bad at all sport at school that I was dispatched to a far corner of the sports field with two similarly untalented friends to - wait for this - throw the discus. How useful is that? (And what would Health and Safety say about three clumsy schoolgirls mucking about unsupervised with a potentially lethal weapon?) But I survived (pysically and emotionally), and learnt to make lovely daisy chains.

But form captains are different. If your fellows are voting, then it's a measure of how popular you are, and this matters far more to a child than the ability to leap over a pole. I remember with dread those Christmas post boxes we had in our classrooms - my grandchildren still have them - into which children posted cards to each other. I didn't care a hoot who had sent me a card; it was how many cards I received. They were like votes; a measure of poularity. One small grandson received just one card one year. I think he will remember that far longer than the fact that he wasn't picked for a team.

So while Phoebe deserves her success - she is a kind child; she notices when people are upset; she is sociable and chatty and fun - I can't help thinking of the child who longs to be form captain but who will never - perhaps merely through shyness - get that little badge to wear.


  1. Okay, I'll just come out and say it.

    I've heard the phrase and I've read it in books (probably Wodehouse), but what on earth exactly is a form captain?

  2. Nevets, that's a very good question. I have a feeling it's more of a title than a job, but it means you're your form leader, whatever that entails (not a lot at age 9). I'll ask the girl herself and get back to you.

  3. More fundamental question:

    What's a form? :)

    I love learning proper English. haha

  4. It's a class (grade?). And don't mock, Nevets. Where would you all be without us?

  5. Oh the popularity contest which is school... why anybody thought they were likely to be the best days of anybody's life beats me.

  6. No mocking honestly.

    For once I wasn't being sarcastic.

    Can you believe it?

  7. haha You've gotten to know me too well.

    But, in this case, I was honest. It's actually a blast learning the language and cultural differences we do have.