Emma Lawless is head of girls’ games at Kimbolton School in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire and works alongside her husband Tony, who is head of boys’ games.
What school(s) did you go to?
Burton Green C of E Primary School in Warwickshire then Heart of England Secondary School in Coventry.
What’s your earliest sporting memory?
Playing in a one-off netball match at junior school when we played against a school who were very much better than we were, so we lost heavily. I certainly learned how to lose gracefully from an early age.
Who were your sporting heroes growing up?
Torvill and Dean inspired me with their perfect Bolero at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo and I always liked Sharron Davies during the 1980s as she won numerous Olympic and Commonwealth medals.
What are your best and worst memories of school?
The house spirit that was generated by things like sports days and swimming galas was one of the highlights of my sports experiences at school. My worst memory would be something that I think lots of people of my age can relate to, but hopefully something that’s very different now, feeling very ill-prepared for cross-country and having to wear awful, tight gym knickers while doing it. I do think cross-country is character-building though and prepares you for various tough things in life.
Can you recall a memorable sporting teacher?
Yes, she was called Mrs McGrady. I wonder if she was a kind of subconscious role model for me because she was married to another PE teacher within the department and now, strangely, I’m married to a PE teacher in my department too.
What sports do you play now?
Well, I have three children, all under seven, so all the sport I’m involved with surrounds them. I play cricket, badminton, rugby and all sorts with them at the local park or in the garden. My own participation has rather gone on hold since I had them. Before they came along, I played netball competitively, plus university football while I was at Loughborough and swimming.
What other ways do you stay healthy?
Running and swimming.
What is your favourite sporting memory?
It was when Coventry City won the FA Cup in 1987 and I was at junior school in the area. Gary Mabbutt scored an own goal and Keith Houchen scored a memorable diving header. I was a Sky Blues fan growing up but I haven’t been to watch them for years. I married a Liverpool supporter so my household is full of Reds these days. They don’t take Coventry City particularly seriously, for some reason.
What’s been your most embarrassing sporting moment?
Being overtaken in the dying stages of the Great North Run by a duck with flippers. That was particularly humiliating.
What’s your biggest sporting bugbear?
The win at all costs mentality that causes sportsmen to take it too far and cheat. Lance Armstrong springs immediately to mind but you see it happen across many sports and at all levels.
When was the last time you cried at a sporting event?
This is a difficult one. My own children’s achievements have caused me to shed a tear, such as when they scored their first try. At an actual event, Tom Daley winning bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games was another tear-jerker, as he’d lost his dad not long before. Mo Farah winning his double in London was also very emotional.
Which three sports people would you like to have around for dinner and why?
Charlotte Edwards, the England women’s cricket captain, because it would be good to have an inspirational woman who has achieved so much in her field and broken down gender barriers. I’d also invite Bradley Wiggins because he’s just so funny. Finally, I’d have to choose between Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell, because they’re both hugely entertaining. As I’m a big rugby fan, I’d say Matt would just shade it.
MY SPORTING LIFE