It was a beautiful warm day yesterday, so we decided to go to the beach again.  This time, we went to Saltdean.  The tide was low, exposing all the chalky rocks covered with seaweed.  It’s an unbelievable sight, set against the chalky cliffs, with the promenades in between.  Unfortunately, we did not bring the camera.  We had debated it and was unsure what we would end up doing, so we didn’t have it.  It would have been too much to carry around while we were exploring the rock pools.[ad#ad-1]

It was fun and educational for the kids, but we learned a few lessons.  First, we need to make a list of things to bring when we go on such outings.  It seems we’re never properly prepared.  Perhaps, if I make a list now, I won’t forget next time.  Here’s what I’ll need to remember next time: hat (none of us have ever been in the habit of wearing hats), sunglasses (not an option for all of us), extra bag (to carry things that the kids collect), carry-all bag (because the kids never like to carry what they packed), waterproof shoes, bucket and shovel, towels, blanket.  I’m sure the list will grow as our outings increase in frequency.  I’ve also learned not to encourage the kids to bring too much, because it only adds to the weight on my shoulders.

After exploring the pools from Saltdean to Rottingdean (a famous smuggling town that I need to read up on), we stopped to get some drinks and snacks and walked back to Saltdean along the cliff path.  The views were awesome. We then drove over to Brighton, passing the famous Rottingdean windmill (which we’ll need to visit someday). 

We parked up near the marina and decided to walk towards the pier.  It was some distance away, but the kids ran towards the beach instead.  It was a shingle beach, not a sandy one, and walking on it was rough.  I looked up and read the sign “Boundary of Naturist Beach”.  I didn’t know what to make of it, but after walking a little ways, my husband suddenly remembers.  He recalled something about a nudist beach at Brighton and he thought that’s what “naturist” meant.  However, we doubted anyone would be out in their birthday suits at that time (evening).  Yet, the kids had run ahead and he thought it safest to take them away from the area.  Well, it was too late.  They had reached the edge, and just beyond, we saw some naked bathers.  We tried to call them over but they refused and kept going further.  They even rebelled and sat down, refusing to move.  We kept going and eventually they followed.  My husband insisted we go after them and after a while, I decided to turn back to get them.  But it only made them think that we were giving in and they started turning back towards the nudist beach.  Eventually, I had to yell at them to listen (they are very stubborn) before they stopped and we got them to us.  They both insisted they saw nothing, but we found that hard to believe.  Were we over-reacting or did they really notice nothing?

Well, we managed to get them away.  It was getting dark, so they didn’t want to go wading anymore.  Instead, they got on the playground. Then we went to the pier, where our older daughter managed to win Eeyore from the grab machines (and the other one cried because she didn’t get one).  Afterwards, they bought a dozen doughnuts.  It was a long walk back to the car, but it was enlivened with a display of fireworks from far off.  We didn’t realise it at the time, but the fireworks were being set off at the marina.  We hadn’t thought we parked THAT far!  Needless to say, the kids fell asleep on the way back and we had to carry them in and put them to bed.  We were exhausted.

I remember years ago, while watching a sports game, my husband commented on the American habit of jeering and taunting the opposition.  He couldn’t understand it because it was just not done in England.  Of course, this usually occurred only in professional sports.  But, then, you notice how parents and, sometimes, coaches can get riled up in amateur team sports.  These people are all supposed to be role models for our young athletes.

I don’t follow sports much.  But I remember a news story a few months back about how parents here in the UK were becoming extremely competitive (more so than the athletes) and aggressive at tennis matches.  Then, just last week, a talk show host brought up the issue of bad behaviour amongst athletes and their fans at football (soccer) matches.  They noticed this most especially with football, but not cricket or rugby.  It’s very interesting the trend that is developing.

Growing up in the US and having witnessed the taunting, I never thought twice about it.  When my husband suggested that fans applauded good effort on the part of their opponents, I thought it sounded strange.  After all, it’s a competition, isn’t it?  You’re supposed to support your team and want them to win, right?  Why cheer on the opponent?  Well, it has nothing to do with supporting the opposition.  It has to do with showing good sportsmanship.  Giving credit where credit was due.  You see post-game interviews and those who show good sportsmanship will praise their opponents.  If they’ve won, it’s a lot easier for most players to be generous.  But when they’ve lost, I have more respect for the players who say, “They beat us because they were a better team” or “They played better”, rather than “We lost because we didn’t play hard enough.”  It’s as if the latter group was saying they were better but they just couldn’t be bothered to put in the effort.  A very arrogant attitude.

One of the ways schools are trying to teach good sportsmanship is by applying the mercy rule.  It’s already been in effect in some areas, but they are trying to widen it.  It basically means that if a team is ahead by so many points, then the game is forfeited.  I’m not sure this is a very good idea as it may teach kids to give up when the going gets tough.  It’s probably best just to let them play it out and everybody shake hands at the end.  I wouldn’t advocate that the winning team let up in their efforts either.  They should just play the “benchwarmers” at that point.  Then, everyone gets a chance to participate.

Though the jeering may have infiltrated British sports, to the dismay of the general public, I don’t believe that cheering for their opponents will ever take in the US.  The mentality is so different.  Society has changed somewhat in the UK, but I do hope that they don’t lose their sense of sportsmanship.  It somehow sets them apart.