Friday, May 04, 2007


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.


BwcaBrownie said...

Wise woman.
Although I do still have visible lumps on my shins 40 years after those hockey games; I didn't need any bad experiences to learn to avoid sport - one look on Speech Night at the awful muscle-y legs of the chick on stage getting Best All-Rounder was warning enough for me.
Now the only 'Jump' that gets my attention is the one David Lee Roth did in the 80's.
*goes off singing
"I aint the worst that you've seen" ... "

Lord Sedgwick said...

Having read that evocative post, why do we have visions of Hattie Jaques and Joyce Grenfell making their way across our flickering black and white, slow moving instant replay.

phil said...

Ahh, "Jump". That's good stuff.

I have functional sight in only one eye as a result of a forceps to the head when entering this wonderful world and am pretty much quite uncoordinated as well. But I grew up in a town whose annual carnival was the Festival of Sport. So you had to do the cricket, basketball, footy, swimming and all. I wanted so hard to succeed. I took up golf as two mates were good at it, but even a ball sitting still was too much. You never really get over it, I reckon.

JahTeh said...

Don't you remember, Hockey 1, Hockey 2, Hockey 3-BONECRACK. Walking home from school with a tonne weight school bag was enough sport for me.

Funny you should mention Joyce Grenfell, I used to run the SP book in 5th year.

Phil, you had an excuse not even I could think up. My son couldn't kick a football or hit a cricket ball but put him on a golf course and he was magic. I got him out of sport (inherited dislike) by having him take golf lessons instead.

One more f&%#ing verification and I'm going to blow blogger up.

Anonymous said...

Lol at M'lord's comment

Davoh said...

" .. 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).."

Sounds like my firs attempt at employment .. with the Department of Agriculture. Managed to survive at least five months with that lot .. heh.

JahTeh said...

Andrew, I've told you not to encourage him.

How were you at hockey though, Davo?

redcap said...

Once, I nearly drowned just to get out of sport. Fact. Well, fact that I couldn't swim, anyway.

BwcaBrownie said...

"why do we have visions of Hattie Jaques and Joyce Grenfell making their way" .... because, Your Excellency, they were both highly intelligent and Very funny women.

JahTeh said...

Redcap, we had to swim in the sea, not a pool and diving off the end of a pier was not my idea of fun. I do remember part of one swimming certificate was diving to the seabed and grabbing a handful of sand but I had too much bouyancy and so I lied and said I dropped it on the way up. I still can't dive into water.

Brownie, brilliant you whacked him at one.