I'm not kidding, I can't jump. I've been putting more photographs in the one cupboard over at Mum's trying to keep them all together and at the same time getting her to give me dates for the early ones. I came across my sister's ribbons for high jumping and I remembered how brilliant she was at sport.
Sport was not my forte. Telling lies to get out of doing sport was my real talent. I was made to play hockey and it didn't take me long to work out if I played way on the boundary, all I had to do was run (not very fast) and look as though I was in the game. No way was I going anywhere near hard and fast balls being shot at me with hard wooden sticks.
I played cricket but since it was a "Gel's school", we bowled underarm. I couldn't do that after playing street cricket for years and developing a fast overarm. I couldn't bat, I never saw a ball coming at me until teachers and parents discovered I couldn't see anything and I got glasses. After that I could see every ball and I wasn't standing there waiting for another hard fast ball to wipe me out.
Basket ball involved running and getting elbowed by grotty little sheilas out for revenge. A basket ball, while not all that fast, is damned hard when it hits the back of the head. Athletic afternoons were a nightmare. PE was torture on a Gitmo scale and not helped by having Olympic champions teaching us.
So to the jumping. PE was about vaulting on to a springboard to land on a vaulting horse to forward roll into jumping off. I couldn't jump high enough to make the springboard spring. I couldn't jump onto the vaulting horse and I couldn't jump off it. The one time I did manage it, the teacher pushed me into a forward roll before I was ready and I fell off the horse. The bitch almost broke my neck and that finished me forever. That woman also left me on the ground when I fell from the uneven bars and landed flat on my back on a hard floor. It was the first and last time I was winded and I thought I was dying. I wonder how many school girls can trace their spinal disintegration from sports days and dragging home a tonne weight of books before back packs.
Back to the subject of my not jumping. Athletics, running for the unco-ordinated involves falling over, running and jumping over hurdles involves terror and pain. Even when the teacher up-ended the hurdles so they were only a foot off the ground, I still remained earthbound. Why she just didn't give up then and leave me to count the bruises I can only put down to her being a sadistic skinny bitch who hated slightly fat school girls. She made me attempt the high jump. If I could have left the ground to the jumping height, I would have stayed in the air because the landing was on a thin mat not those lovely big air bag things they have now but a very thin mat. Not that it mattered, the Intelligent Designer had left out the springs in my feet. I couldn't even jump or dive into the pool for swimming but I put that down to my past life experience of trying to get off the Titanic.
I developed some good strategies in the war against sport. The first one was not to put my name down for any of the school houses. I turned up for the one I was assigned to but it took them a whole year to work out that my name didn't appear, nor did I on the annual sports day.
I used my over active imagination to invent a range of excuses so famous that I was named in the school year book. When I was forced to take up a sport, I chose the Javelin. It was a match made in Heaven. I didn't have to run fast. I didn't have to interact with team mates. I threw so erratically everyone else didn't want to interact with me.
My sister, on the other hand, was a natural. She practically sailed through the air on invisible wings. She could jump her own height from a standing start. She could run like the wind and jump hurdles as though they were twigs. She won ribbons. She threw herself around the gymnastic equipment without fear. Later in life, one of her party tricks when horrible pissed was to do back flips without throwing up. She had conquered gravity, I had concrete feet. I still hate sport and I still can't jump.