Penalising parents again! What happened to fairness in sport?

I was three months pregnant when I applied for 12 Olympic tickets. I was far more concerned with how I would pay for all 12 tickets if I got them rather than what I would do with my baby when it came time for the doors to open for the London Olympics.

Anyway, it seemed a world away, we had a whole year and a bit to cross that bridge. Not one ticket application came through me for. Not even the archery!

I worked in an office where one of the girls received a phone call in late June 2011 from her husband to be told that her six ticket applications had come in as well as his six. That was 12 tickets that were being charged to their credit card… ouch!

I was 7 months pregnant when I received the email to say that I was entitled to apply for a second round of tickets. I checked my credit card, thought about the fact that I would have baby, but applied anyway only to be rejected again. It was just not meant to be.

Okay, so I’m over not going to the 2012 London Olympics, so instead I’m off to Wimbledon again! I’ve applied for my tickets, and am very sure I’ll get them. The dates for Wimbledon are firmly blocked out in my diary, and I have child care for Mini M. It’s such a long day, and is famously renound for being rained out, so games get postponed. Last year we ended up being on Centre Court until 10pm. However, the organisers of Wimbledon do not charge for me to bring in Mini M as she does not take up a seat. It’s just my judgement to not bring her, rather than being dictated to that I can’t.

However we will no doubt be at this year’s Cartier Polo event for the 5th year running, and this year we will have Mini with us. It is of course an outdoor sporting event, thrilling and exciting, and more than appropriate to bring Mini. The organisers actually encourage a family atmosphere. Of course as the Chinawhite tent starts to boom to the sounds of DJ so and so, it may be our cue to leave earlier than our usual 2am departure.

So, it’s made me think about what I would have done if I was successful in getting a ticket for the Olympics. I probably would have left Mini with my parents-in-law. To hear that the London Olympic organisers want to charge for babies or small children is yet another ‘tax’ or charge for having a family.

In reality, what will it cost organisers if I take my baby into the stadium, especially when carried in the harness? She wouldn’t take up an extra seat, and it wouldn’t require extra facilities being installed.

Katie Hopkins (former Apprentice contestant) appeared on the BBC this morning, stating that she didn’t want to have to be subjected to a “squawking baby that demands to be centre of attention” and that the Olympics should be an “adult only” event so as not to ruin her enjoyment. Is such selfishness part of the Olympic ethos?

When I get on the bus/tube I don’t want to have to sit next to an arrogant, self-obsessed individual talking loudly into their mobile phone, but it happens and you have to learn to be tolerant. You don’t get the chance to sit in an isolated, peaceful bubble anywhere other than your own home. If you go to a well attended public event, I’m afraid you have to accept there will be a large cross section of society there, and that includes families with young children.

Surely you can’t exclude people for having children? And it is exclusion – if we wanted to attend an Olympic event, we don’t have family nearby to look after our child, we couldn’t afford to pay someone to look after her all day, and why should we when we don’t want to? I travel all over London with my baby, we even flew to France before she was 3 months old, and she bothered nobody. The only inconvenience we caused anyone was having to be provided with an additional seat belt on the flight.

If you have an older child, that needs their own seat, then I understand a charge should be made – the “Pay your Age” scheme is an excellent idea. But we should be encouraging young children to get involved and excited about the Olympics being in London rather than creating an exclusive, “adult only” event.

(This is an opinion piece only written by Mr and Mrs ChicFantastique based on being parents who are extremely sociable and who don’t appreciate being told we can’t do something)


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