Sunday, June 04, 2006

Family Fun Day

Karen's now on the committee of the Wadi Club (the Embassy's social side), so was therefore involved in organizing it's latest social event for the expat community.

The Family Fun Day took place last Friday and was a great success; less great for me, but more of that later. Karen and her colleagues had come up with some great ideas for entertaining activities for the children, and we'd spent most of the previous weekend shopping in Toys R Us for the various prizes and games we had on our list; frisbees, water pistols, hula hoops etc.

On the day we had to arrive a couple of hours before the 4pm opening, still a little bleary-eyed from the barbeque we'd hosted at our house the night before for 30 people, including ten children. We spent the two hours helping to get everything installed, working, and ready; bouncy castle, table tennis, giant snakes 'n' ladders, treasure hunt, water polo... you get the idea.

"Where does this bit go?"

Karen provided much of the the creative input, including organizing the treasure hunt - treasure included.

"On your marks..."

4 o'clock and the guests start to arrive. I think we were expecting around 120 people in total, and it didn't take long for the pool area to be bustling with activity and chatter. Two of the P.E. teachers from the British School were there to officiate in the water-based competitions; water polo and (inflatable) dragon races.

I'm not sure why but a voice in my head had told me to wear my swim shorts, "just in case". Good advice as it turned out, because when the water polo was getting set up Karen (not my Karen, another one) came up to me and asked if I would be one of the two parents to volunteer to go in goal. I immediately agreed and "bagsied" the shallow end - who wants to try saving goals while treading water in the deep end for 30 minutes! Well, Barry as it turns out. He was the slower of the two volunteers! :-)

"Now I want a good, clean fight."

The game kicks off and is very exciting, with parents cheering on from the poolside. Barry and I try to make it entertaining by alternately pulling off spectacular saves and letting goals in with pathetic comedy dives. Between the referee and the two of us we "managed" to make it a 6-6 draw, necessitating a climactic penalty shoot-out. This time we played it straight and the scores were still level after five penalties each: Sudden Death! The first couple of penalties were saved, then the opposition's second attempt missed. Next up on our Blue Team was Elliot, facing Barry. A goal now would win us the match. He feinted to the right, then to the left, then shot the ball to the right. Barry lunged, got a hand to the ball but too late to stop it hitting the back of the net - We Are The Champions!

Next, the Dragon Races. Can't remember who won each heat but here are a couple of photos.

"Come on the Yellow!" Karen looks ready to dive in if things go pear-shaped.

Abigail takes the lead

Elliot (dark trunks) with his schoolmates

After our Fish 'n' Chip supper the next organized event is 5-a-side football on the tennis court. I don't play football any more and am in no shape to start - seriously at least - but they're short of players so I step up again (by the way, it's 45 degrees centigrade). We're on an artificial tennis court surface and I'm only wearing flip-flops, which are useless for playing football, so I decide to cast them to the sidelines and play barefoot.

The match gets under way, with one adult and four children on each side. Play goes well for about ten minutes, apart from my lungs being about ready to burst. Then suddenly another player passes to me, I'm in the open and about 20 yards from the goal. I start dribbling the ball towards what I'm certain will be our first goal on the scoreboard when suddenly POP! , someone kicks me in the back of the leg. I turn around, hopping, to see who the culprit is, but there's no-one there. That's when the pain starts. I think I've got cramp in my left calf, but the usual treatment of stretching the muscle makes the pain worse. I then realize that the popping sensation was my calf muscle tearing. By this time the pain is pretty bad and there's a group of people standing over me, then Karen (mine this time) comes over and helps me hop/limp back to the pool to lie down on a sun lounger.
A bag of ice is sourced from the bar and the pain starts to ease, then the Ambassador comes over to find out what's happened, and promptly nips back to the Residence to return with Deep Heat cream and Ibuprofen gel, for which I was very grateful.

Even though the ice pack was doing little to ease my suffering,
I still manage a cheery smile for my concerned fans.

As I write it's Sunday evening, 48 hours later, and I still can't walk properly. But, I'm doing all the right things - ice, compression bandage, keep it rested and eleveted etc., and it's getting better, slowly.

I'm determined to be back on my Rollerblades by the weekend.


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