Thursday 13 October 2011

Upper sixth form parents' evening last night

Two years ago Ben and I went to the fifth form parents' evening. It wasn't brilliant. Ben had been away from school for quite a while, unable to face anyone or anything, let alone a school full of teenagers. So going along to the 2009 parents' evening, two years ago, was a bit of a challenge - for both of us.

Two years ago I was painfully aware of Ben's dramatic physical transformation since many of these parents, or their children, last saw Ben. The parents I knew tended to be either those of Ben's friends or the parents I used to chat with on the touch line of every Saturday morning school rugby match. Ben used to play Number 3 in the rugby line-up and later Number 8: both 'forward' positions usually given to big, strapping lads which is exactly what Ben was back then.

So the difference at parents evening two years ago would have been acute.

Then, of course, there was the fact that Ben was obviously avoiding everyone's glances or approaches as he slunk around the assembly hall looking as miserable as sin - and quite ill. This, from a solid boy that was known for hurtling down the rugby pitch, ball in hand, and flinging himself on the grass, placing the ball over the touchline.

Last night at the 2011 parents' evening, although Ben is still very thin, the difference wasn't so acute. Ben's mood was better and his social interaction, although not great, was better. He looked much healthier and, instead of being worried, his teachers were delighted with his progress: on every level.

The rugby contingent was there again, of course. And because Ben hasn't had any contact with any of them since he quit rugby in Autumn 2009, I was still acutely aware of the contrast, especially as these huge boys are now virtually fully grown men.

But, hey, let's not look back with regret on 'what might have been'.

Ben says he never liked playing rugby anyway.

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