01 July 2008

School Disco Tales

"arranging a school disco is akin to a military operation on the scale that is normally undertaken by the United Nations...My mind quickly thought about the sugar hit that was just about to hit more than 70 children!"

Friday night is one of the best nights of the week. It signifies the end of the working week for most of us and means that for the next 2 days we do not need to be ruled by the alarm clock! Most people will use Friday night to go out for a drink, visit a restaurant, spending time with family and friends, playing ABBA songs at full volume or going away for a weekend in the countryside.

As for me last Friday was quite different. I was acting as a bouncer at my eldest daughters' school disco. I was on patrol with a co-parent. We were both wearing black jackets and looked every inch a couple of pseudo bouncers without the steroids. As some of you may recall my wife and I are on the school social committee alongside the 5 J's (all their first names begin with the letter J).

Anyway, I was assigned two very important roles. The first one was to collect the pizzas from the local pizza parlour. I was advised by one of the 'J's' that the timing and co-ordination of the delivery of the pizzas was crucial. It became very evident that arranging a school disco is akin to a military operation on the scale that is normally undertaken by the United Nations.

After synchronising my watch I set off in the car to pick up 6 pizzas. I was ably assisted by my youngest daughter who came along to ensure that the pizzas were delivered on time. We had to drive to the neighbouring suburb and I could feel cold beads of sweat appear on my brow as we encountered some traffic. I was starting to get worried that the children might riot if they didn't get their pizzas soon.

Anyway, we collected them and headed back to the school. I decided to take a few back routes to get there asap. I was greeted by a few helpers when we arrived at the school, including my wife. The main 'J' had arranged for the pizzas to be collected before I parked the car. The food was whisked away to the kitchen when a number of helpers were ready, knives in hand, to cut up the pizzas into bite size portions. I had to admire the organisation skills that were on view.

I had a few minutes to look at what was going on at the disco. Sure enough, the DJ was belting out the hits from yesteryear and the teachers were playing games with the children. I made my way out to the back where this part of the military style operation was in full swing. All children were having their names written on plastic cups so that they could fill them up with cordial. My mind quickly thought about the sugar hit that was just about to hit more than 70 children!

With that chilling thought in mind I made my way to the entrance of the school. There I met my fellow bouncer and we started talking about many things as bouncers do. Our role was to stop the older school children from 'gatecrashing' the disco. The school had to split the night into two with Kinder to Year 2 going first and then Year 3 onwards from 7pm.

I had visions of knuckle dusters and airport style x-ray screening for the elder children but it was only my mind playing tricks on me. I ventured back into the hall and saw that all children were sitting down while a phalanx of helpers were distributing food and drink to all. It really was a great display of how well organised the event was. The main 'J' was on the phone. Presumably to ask for backups if the sugar hits from the cordial got out of hand.

My fellow bouncer and I were given our instructions - don't let any children leave via the entrance and ensure that the older children don't invade the hall.

The first part proved quite hard as I stopped two sets of adults who were escorting children. Both times I was informed that they were teachers who were escorting some of the children to the bathrooms. My fellow bouncer confirmed this to be the case. I felt quite embarrassed as I only know three of the teachers!

Stopping the older children was easy. Most of them were keen to play soccer or basketball before it was their turn to boogie the night away. I check my synchronised watch, the disco was coming to an end.

The main 'J' advised me that the teachers would tick off the names of all the children in their classes before they would let the children leave with their parents or guardians. My role was to stop any child leaving via the exit on their own. This seemed easy but wasn't. Some children were hyper from the night's activities and quite often were running away from their parents.

Finally, all children were accounted for and I was able to collect my two daughters and wife and head home. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that my shift had ended. As we left, I saw the main 'J' on the phone again. Presumably she was putting the army on notice that water cannons may be necessary for the second part of the night!

However, I was reliably informed later that they were not needed!

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