Thursday, 21 August 2008

Animal Olympics

Our lovely parks people host the Animal Olympics. Fortunately this involves no animals whatsoever, unless we count a bunch of kids running about in a field, while their mothers, fathers and childminders all congregate together in the craft tent and try and work out the instructions to make a mangonel.

This mangonel-making activity has nothing to do with animals competing in the Olympics. It is, however, a useful team-building exercise in understanding obscure and complex instructions. Granny Maureen is rightly feted as the engineer of the day thanks to working out the middle elastic band technique which allows successful catapulting of bits of gravel for well over a metre range.

I admit it is not visually terribly impressive, but that bit of gravel in the wobbly bottle top can hit a cat within a metre range, so long as the cat is nailed down.

Apart from Grit doing that, Tiger, Squirrel and Shark do this:

Make a bird from bits of paper before sitting down on the grass and declaring 'I feel sick'.

Bursting into tears because Shark will not wear the cardboard snail costume and do the snail race where the prize is an Olympic gold medal. Tears are an effective strategy because Nikki from the parks department takes pity on you and puts on her own snail costume and challenges you to a race. She gamely comes second, which means you get the gold. Wisely, the jury does not attempt to challenge this triumph, even keeping quiet about the observation that the snail cheated by getting up and running the last bit.

Being a snake. And an eagle. And a bear. And a tiger. Shark does all of these things with an instructor, teaching us how animal movements are part of the martial arts experience. Shark then declares 'I want to learn karate'.

Thus a good day in a field was had by all.

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