What Happened to the British Curriculum? Part 1

By Kenny

A warm up, in vain

So if you’re asking, “What happened to the British Curriculum?” well, what happened — I don’t know.

I know you’ve all been waiting months to hear what happened in Shanghai at the FOBISSEAA (Federation of British International Schools in South East Asia & Asia) Games. Well, this is what happened:

Day 1: We go to a 50-metre (c’mon, not meter, it’s British) swimming pool. I am in 3 events–50 m freestyle, the medley relay, and 100 m freestyle. When it was my turn to start the 50m, I was worried. We were not doing very well that day in swimming and my soul sisters — from the Seoul British School — were on the medal podium for every event. Do you remember the earlier British Curriculum post about a football tournament where I got shouldered in the chin & got a big black & blue mark? (I think he’s Scandinavian — no offense to my Scandinavian friends.) I was racing that guy! So I was hoping to get revenge on him.

I heard the gunshot. I was racing.

I took the lead. Then as I got to the midpoint, I was getting up my speed, but the guy without a soul, from Seoul, somehow had gotten ahead of me. It was a very close race for first. Just as we had 5 metres to go, we were centimeters apart. He touches, I slow down. I come in silver.

Me accepting silver


Hey, that’s actually not bad, though it’s only silver. Due to the fact that, at that time there was only one other boy on my team who had a gold medal.

After I got to accept the silver medal — standing higher than the guy from Dulwich COLLEGE Shanghai (not a college) — I felt great. I knew I’d be coming home with a medal, & be able to brag to my friends. And that my old enemy, from Dulwich COLLEGE Beijing (still not a college) came in last place.

Just as I got off the podium I heard my name called: “If there’s a Kenny Coplan, come to the judging panel immediately! Your team is waiting.”

I put my medal in my bag, I go meet with my team, we’re ready to start. We’re all having a secret thought: Our secret weapon was on our team, doing the butterfly. Brian. The guy swims twice a day, every day of the week. We wanted to do better than the BSB girls, who won a silver in the medley relay. I was under a bit of pressure since I was the last person to swim (the anchor) for our team.

As I heard the gun, my teammate started swimming backstroke. I was crossing my fingers for him. When I looked up, he was fighting hard for 5th place. The Soulless School from Seoul was 10m ahead. When he finished, my friend who’d already won 2 bronze medals in swimming, was up for breast stroke. He swam really fast & got us out of 5th, into 4th place. When he got to the other end of the pool, our secret weapon was ready. I’ve never seen anyone swim harder (other than in Olympic events). He got us into 3rd place, by only a meter. Then it was up to me to hold our 3rd place.

I started swimming, all the pressure being on me. My teammates watching. Dulwich COLLEGE Beijing (not a college) had gotten ahead of me. There were only 10 meters left. It was between him and me for 3rd place. We get to the flags. He touches less than 10 cm before I do. So we ended up placing 4th.

But luckily, there was still the 100m freestyle – the event I was most worried about. If you’re thinking, “Why would you be so worried?” well, here’s the answer: I’m not very good at 100m freestyle. I put myself all out on the first 50 m so I’m tired for the last 50 m. I was hoping to at least place 3rd.

So as I hear the gun, I push off. I start pacing myself. I go slowly. I hear my name being called. I hear people cheering for me. I get to the halfway point, I do a flip turn. I see 3 swimmers behind me. I’m happy that I’m in 3rd. I was really hoping I could hold this lead. I touch the board — I came in third. My expectations were met–almost a perfect day. Although there was a disappointment in the medley, I received the second highest number of medals for our school, BSB.

The swim meet was finally over.

Me and my friends in the FOBISSEAA Games parade

Day 1 afternoon:

It was time for the track and field meet. I would be participating in the U12 division discus and the U13 division shot-put. The afternoon started with the running events.

At first I was full of energy.  Out of the 18 running events the British School of Beijing participated in, we won 3 medals, 2 being silver both won by my friend and 1 bronze won by an anther friend. Now it was time for the field events. It started with four triple jump events. We won a bronze medal. Next was the high jump, like the triple jump four events; we won 2 bronze medals. Next was my event — the discus.

I got 2 practice throws. I threw 0ver 20 metres on both throws. I watched the other participants, it looked like I had thrown the farthest. But now it was the real deal. I was the first to throw. I threw, it went over 20 metres. I got applauded from my coach. I watched everyone else throw. I had thrown the farthest. Now it was time for my next throw. I threw, the discus went about 25 metres! I watched hoping no one would throw farther then me. Luckily, no one. And it was now my last throw. I threw, it was an okay throw. Then my coach came over to me & said, “Kenny, you have a good chance of winning this.”

Kenny accepting the gold.


After everyone had thrown, the referee had the paper with the results, he had called every player’s name except for me and 1 guy on the Seoul Train. The ref said, “The winner: KENNY COPLAN FROM THE BRITISH SCHOOL OF BEIJING.” I felt like running around and screaming but I didn’t.

The next event was the shot-put. Since I had come late, I was the only one that hadn’t thrown so I got 3 throws in a row. My first throw was 6 m, my second throw was 6.7m, my third throw was 7.3 m. My result was in: I had placed 5th in the U13 shot-put. Hey but not too bad for an U12 throwing in the U13. My coach Mr. Small (he’s not small) walked around with me looking a little disappointed. He met with my other coach that had coached me in discus. They talked to me. Mr. Small asked, “How did Kenny do in the discus?” He said, “Oh, Kenny? He only won the event.” I saw a smile on Mr. Small’s face. He shook my hand and said congratulations.

British School of Beijing Bears holding the 30 medals we won at FOBISSEA that day


I had won 3 medals that day and as a team we won 30 medals 8 of them being gold.

To be continued…

3 comments on “What Happened to the British Curriculum? Part 1

  1. Kathy says:

    Kenny you are so great! And I notice you are the tallest in the team! Like the writing. Wow, so young and already began to write. Amazing!

  2. Doris says:

    Way to go Kenny! I’m so proud of you. I didn’t realize you had these talents.
    Your writing is also excellent, and funny, too! Keep up the great work.
    Love,
    Aunt Doris

  3. dan coplan says:

    Bully for you Kenny! Fight on! Uncle dan

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