I was never very good at sport when I was a child. I was a gangly kid, quite a bit taller than my peers with bits and bones sticking out all over the place.
I remember the embarrassment of sports day when I always came last in everything. Although I was very tall for my age I had a problem with brain/leg coordination. They sort of flapped around and my arms kind of joined in.
The egg and spoon race was always a disaster. I simply couldn’t keep the pesky egg from dropping to the ground every few steps. One year I decided to cheat rather than face the annual humiliation of bringing up the rear. I secreted a bit of that blue sticky stuff in my shorts and when nobody was looking I stuck the egg to the spoon!
It was great. I ran for all I was worth legs and arms flailing all over the place and the egg stayed put. Okay, I still didn’t win, but I didn’t come last. I was so thrilled when I crossed the line that I flung both arms up in the air in a sort of victory salute, pointing my egg and spoon toward the sky – and the egg magically stayed in place. I got into trouble for cheating.
I ought to have been good at the hop skip and jump. They call it the triple jump now - why’s that? I hop reasonably well, skip was a bit of a challenge but the jump not bad at all.
Trouble was I always got them in the wrong order! I’d skip when I should have hopped and jump when I should have skipped.
I liked the three legged race. Not because I was good at it, but because we always ended up in fits of giggles rolling on the ground!
Oh I must tell you about this. One year I was entered in the sack race. I put everything I had into hopping along. Hop, hop, hop, higher and higher and I didn’t do too badly. When I got to the end I dropped the sack to the ground and stepped out. Well, several of my friends were laughing at me! Suddenly my teacher rushed up to me and said ‘Rosey where are your shorts?’ It seemed that I had leapt up down so enthusiastically that they had fallen down and remained in the bottom of the sack.
When I went to big school my sports consisted of hockey, lacrosse and archery and I quite enjoyed it. My parents wanted me to take up polo but I think that was more to boost their standing in the local community. Royalty play polo so if it’s good enough for them it was good enough for me!
How things have changed. The school were I work has a non-competitive sports day. I ask you, whatever next? It’s supposed to be fairer towards the less sporty members of the school. But to really succeed in life you need to compete in just about every area, and where better to prepare yourself than in school. It did me no harm. I was useless at sport, but good at English. In that subject I shone. In that subject I always came first.
And that’s not all. This year we can’t do the sack race or the three legged race because the Health and Safety spoil-sports consider it too dangerous. What they are really worried about is possible claims being made against the school if little Johnny twists his ankle or sweet Jessica breaks a finger nail. What strange times we live in.