Friday 8 April 2011

G is for Games

I am very, very bad at all sport. If I see a ball coming towards me, there's a(probably primitive) part of my brain that says "missile! duck!" and that's what I more or less do.

Of course, with a vicious game like hockey, when a blow on the ankle is something to be reckoned with, this is actually quite sensible. Not duck, exactly, but at the very least, run away. But if you want to succeed at sport, you must go for the ball, embrace the opportunity, love it, even; and hit it/catch it/kick it.

At my school, if you were bad at sport, that was it. No-one bothered to help you to improve. You were a failure; a person of no value; and (worst of all) that common humilation for the school child: Last To Be Picked for a Team.

In the end (and I now I've referred to this before), I was relegated to the corner of a large sports field, together with two equally useless friends, where we were equipped with a javelin and a discus and told to get on with it. Can you imagine? Three giggly teenagers, armed with potentially lethal weapons, left on our own to "practise". Oh, Health and Safety, where were you when I really needed you?

Safety issues apart, to this day, I cannot see what possible use the ability to throw a discus can be in the life of a young - or, come to that, any - woman. Certainly, I have never found it to be useful. In any case, I was as hopless at discus-throwing as I was at any other sport. So the three of us (mercifully, we were close friends) lay in the grass and made daisy chains and gossiped about boys.

My small grandson (and he is very small for his age) asked me the other day to guess what he worried about when he couldn't get to sleep at night.

"I don't know," I said. "Tell me."

"Rugby," said poor Max, who is regularly battered on the rugby field.

Oh, poor Max. I think that in that respect at least, you take after your grandmother.


  1. Poor Max!

    I'm a sport failure too. My only moment of prowess came during a netball match in which I scored a goal (is that the right term in netball?). Alas, nobody had told me that I was Goal Defence, and I was meant to be throwing the ball away from the net rather than through it. Triumph turned so quickly to abject failure; I've been wary of success ever since.

  2. I so can relate to this! I used to so hate sports day as my games teachers would cruelly choose me for some race knowing I would come last. Perhaps in was a questionable act of kindness to make this non-existent athlete feel 'included?'

    Hugs to Max!

    Anna :o]

  3. I wasn't into sports either... "lay in the grass and made daisy chains and gossiped about boys" ...oh dear, that WAS fun!!! :-))

    Thanks for stopping by. I loved the story about your daughter and the blind patient. Hilarious!


  4. I was hopeless at games when at school, loved mucie more,My son however became a pro soccer player after he left school until an injury forced him to give up.


  5. My trick for coping with rugby (which I hated) at school was this:

    ~the rules prohibit the ball being passed forward
    ~if you always stay ahead of the ball, no-one can pass to you

    Worked a treat...

  6. All these sporting failures - how comforting! Maybe sport and creativity don't go together.

    Tim, how did you get away with it?

  7. I'm rubbish at sport too. I used to do cross country, as I was the only girl who didn't mind mud, I seemed relateively good at that.

  8. It seems that some of the best people were rubbish at sport. Welcome to the club, Patsy!

  9. Couldn't help smiling but I do feel for the little fella. I still have nightmares about a hockey ball heading towards my face.

  10. Colette, the hockey ball should have struck you on the shins! Someone was aiming in the wrong direction.

    Surely there must be someone out here who was good at games?

  11. Me too! I still feel sick when I look back to my schooldays. I was the same - always one of the last to be 'picked' for teams. Public humiliation. You had to be good at sports to be really popular. The only thing I was good at was English, and that didn't particularly impress anyone (apart from the English teachers!).

    I wish I had been encouraged to find something I could enjoy. In my late forties I finally learned to swim properly, and I've had so much pleasure from it since, (and finally, some exercise!). But swimming teachers back in the
    1960s were only interested in the good swimmers, and terrified the life out of people like me!

  12. Olivia, you/we are in excellent company. Those who play sport obviously can't string two words together. And which would you prefer?

    Actually, I can swim. Not fast, not that beautiful streamlined crawl with no time to breath, but breaststroke, head stuck out like a tortoise's. I can do this for a long time, and love swimming in very deep(sea) water. But I wouldn't win any competitions.