Monday, 29 December 2014

Sports.


                            

I no longer play any type of 'sport', but in my day I considered it essential.

In Winter I played Rugby, and in the Summer; Cricket and Rowing. I am of course talking about my school days (other than Rugby which I briefly played later at club level).

I was pretty hopeless at all running and jumping sports, but played a reasonable game of Fives. My Tennis was erratic, and my Golf totally hopeless. Without question my two favourite sports were Rugby and Rowing; especially the Rowing.

Rowing 8's is an interesting pastime. Your feet are strapped onto a footplate, you slide back and forth on a tiny uncomfortable wheeled seat, and you can't see where you're going; only where you've been. Whilst putting all your effort into making the wretched thing go as fast as possible, your safety is in the hands of some small spotty person who shouts at you incessantly (Coxes don't usually stand up, as in the illustration).

One of my enduring memories of rowing was coming across groups of six-fingered Fenland fishermen who'd shout obscenities at us as we snagged their lines with our oars. Our response in perfect nine man unison was always a stentorian.... "Fuck off". It still makes me laugh when I think about it.

As far as competitions are concerned I rowed at Henley, on The Serpentine, and at The Cambridge Bumps; always unsuccessfully. The Cambridge University 2nd crew (Goldie) kept a boat in our boathouse, and used our stretch of the river in preference to their own. We often practiced 'starts' together, and they always pulled away from us with frustrating ease.

Rugby is a fool's game. Other than trying to score a few points, it's basically an excuse for one big PUNCH UP. I loved it, but usually ended up as the loser; which is why my city bosses suggested I stopped.

Nowadays I play Croquet and Petanque. Relaxed, sociable, and unhurried, they are games that can be accompanied by a pleasant glass or two of Pastis. They have neither a time limit, nor officious interfering referees. Rules are mostly ignored, but there is more laughter than fisticuffs.

I suppose I might once have been called 'sporty'..... but not now.



17 comments:

  1. I haven't been sporty since I left school - I was a good runner, played in the netball team and rounders - now the only running I do is to chase unwanted visitors out of the garden i.e. cats from around the pond - a gentle stroll is all I can manage these days.

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  2. I was quite the reverse. I became quite sporty when I turned 16.

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  3. Rowing was always a world away from me when I was young apart from watching The Boat Race on Grandstand every March. However, when I was older and used to take my daughter to ballet classes in Chiswick on Sundays I would have several hours to kill and walked down to the Thames and enjoyed watching the rowing eights practice or sometimes a rowing competition.

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    1. It's probably nicer to watch than to participate. Very hard work.

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  4. I hated sports at school - in fact, my friend and I were so notoriously bad at hockey that when teams were being picked, we would be left over at the end and delegated with walking the PE teacher's dog. More than happy to oblige!
    It hasn't changed much since then. 3 years ago I challenged myself to cycle 1000 km in 6 months. I did it but haven't been on a bike since! Other than that, I get my exercise at line dancing on a Wednesday night. And that's it. I think I'm about as quick on my feet as a ruptured slug!

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    1. There are some very sporty ruptured slugs about, but I'm not one either.

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  5. The two games you play now sound very civilised Cro - just my kind of 'sport'.

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  6. I hate all sport. Hate watching it more....unless my kids are playing, then I suffer it? I do like the socialising that hoes with it though. Your pétanque and croquet both sound right up by alley though. Fun !

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  7. Cro, I was a mediocre athlete in my younger days but aging hasn't been too kind. With a bad knee and a few extra pounds that I really need to shed, running is definitely out of the question. The best I can muster up now is a bit faster than slow walk. I have used rowing machines in the past and am well familiar with how physically demanding it can be. When a rowing session is completed every single muscle in the body is screaming for rest. It's not as easy as it first seems. My neighborhood has many older people that walk every day. That's supposed to be the best exercise for the mature generation. :-)

    Have a great day of exercise.

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    1. My exercise these days consists of dog walking, log sawing/splitting, and lifting extremely heavy glasses of red wine. Enough exercise for anyone, I'd say!

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  8. I was a competitive gymnast. Used to flip flop all over beams and floors and bars. even now if I fall down I have to hop up with hands in the air and toes pointed. Makes the GK's laugh hysterically since I no longer have anything close to the gymnast bod I once had. Now I swim, slowly methodically. Just like how I think nowadays

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    1. I swim in the summer; 300 metres per day.

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  9. My dog walks me every day, several times.

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