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Friday, November 25, 2005

Sport Billie

I think the first major inkling my parents had about me being a Gentleman Who Adores Shopping was when I got an A+ for a sponge cake in class. The second was that there was never any need to wash my PE kit.

Oh, how all we Gentlemen hated PE, and I certainly did with a passion. And while it would be years until I came to appreciate lithe teenage bodies pressed together in a shower room, the thought of being sent outdoors to get kicked, dirty and wet simply made me clutch my hand to my pearls and whisper for protection from the Goddess Streisand. Although after five years of squealing whenever the ball came near me, I did discover several ways of Getting Away With It. For the most part, the art was to pretend to be taking part without exerting any energy whatsoever, and here's a quick guide of how to do it:

Football: oh, always go in Defence. The ball would come near the goal, you could run a little way out, do a faux-kick in its general direction (think chorus line, but without jazz-hands) and shrug apologetically when it zips past you into the goal area. For at that point, it's up to the goalie to sort. Hurrah! Absolved of all responsibility, and go back to pretending to be Kate Bush in the Wuthering Heights video when teacher's back was turned.

Rugby: Even easier to avoid the ball! In fact, it's positively encouraged for people to spread about the pitch in case they have to pass the ball to you. Fortunately I was fumbling all balls at that age, including that of several boys in the same year. So you could wander up and down, affecting to take part - although I discovered that if the ball came near you, you should at least pretend to make a play for it. Squealing, and skipping away leaves you to be found out very quickly.

Cricket: a deathly boring game that was blissful for Gentlemen Who Bowl From The Pavilion End like me. In this case, you had to stand in a field, ready to catch a ball. Oh yes! They did try a couple of times to get me to do that. Do try and seize the approaching ball like a passenger from the Rainbow Special Bus trying to clap. You were often consigned to the edge of a field on your own completely unsupervised. Or, in my case, singing to myself while I planned how to hide Craig's towel while he was in the shower.

Volleyball: Oh they tried. Once. It was hilarious.

Cross Country Running: Now this was a hard one to fudge, and often depended on how exasperated your PE teacher was with you. If, like mine, he'd given up after a term of trying to get you to hit anything with a bat, let alone a moving ball. So we were able to plod off for a bit, hide around the back of the school while trying to sculpt our hair into that of Spandau Ballet, and return 30 minutes later, puffing away like a knackered steam train. Brilliant!


And no, after all these years, not much has changed. I'm still employing very similar techniques at work. Only with considerably more jazz-hands!
 

40 comments:

tornwordo said...

Brilliant! I did all those things, the squealing, the positioning oneself for the least likelihood of participation, the pretending. Good experience for the real world. Ha!

Broderick said...

We had hockey (floor and ice, not field) in Canada as a popular PE pastime, so unfortunately avoiding the ball also required avoided huge wooden sticks. My God, it's ever so dreadful trying to pretend to participate when there are 20 guys charging at each other with weapons like the opening scene of Lord of the Rings.

Hockey is pretty dope, though.

Kellycat said...

As school football normally adopts the longball game, I found midfield the best place to be to avoid having to do anything. (Why I was playing boy's sports at school is a post in itself.)

Being "sturdy" in my teens, I managed to fool my doctor into thinking I was asthmatic rather than unfit and was given a repeat prescription for ventolin. I managed to get out of every cross country run for the rest of my schooldays.

The only sport I voluntarily took up in school was golf (completed four lessons), mainly because I liked looking at the fifth year boys' bums while they were adjusting their stance.

surly girl said...

i got my hair caught in a rounders bat once.

Donna said...

You just described my son in the football bit. I've not seen him have a go at Rugby or Cricket. If I compile a list of the things he does that make me suspect he's gay, would you be able to give me an official diagnosis? He's 9.

(And SG, KC ... yes, I am following you around the blogosphere ... can I be in your gang?)

Lee said...

Oh dear, Donna. Show him the Girls Aloud album cover. If he goes 'My, what handsome women, I'd like to stuff their birds, and no mistake!' he's fine.

If he starts singing 'Love Machine' and miming into a hairbrush, all is lost. But you WILL have marvellous curtains to come!

Donna said...

I think its fab. I'm under the impression that he's much more likely to look after me in my old age if he's gay. And more likely to invite me to parties ( ... my eccentric mother ...)

Kellycat said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kellycat said...

Sorry had to delete the above comment because I'd made so many mistakes that it didn't actually make any sense.

Donna - you can be in our gang, but there'll be an intimidating initiation to go through first before we accept you.

morgalou said...

Ah, that post brought back "wonderful" memories of my own schoolday attempts at sport.

The key to hockey was, as in football, to be in defence - preferably one of the backs, which meant you got to spend the majority of the game leaning against the goalposts, breaking coversation with the other Back & the Goalie only to attack Evil Sue's ankles with a large wooden stick when she dared try to score (followed of course by much wide-eyed & innocent "But I was aiming for the ball & her leg got in the way"-ing).

As for cross-country running, I just hid up a tree.

Dantallion said...

Only with considerably more jazz-hands!

...and much better hair.

I hope.

Qenny said...

I had the joy of being in a team that was comprised almost entirely of Young Gentlemen. Only our nominal captain gave a damn about "The Beautiful Game", so on the day he got sent off for getting angry (he was an Angry Young Goalkeeper), the rest of us dropped the pretense entirely and invited the opposing team to see how many goals they could score in the remaining time. The spoilsports didn't let me have a go, even though it would have been one of the few times I did score at school. (Shenanigans in the disused farmhouse on the college grounds didn't count as scoring, apparently.)

St. Dickeybird said...

I had the same issue. I always let everyone cut in front of me in the line to get on the volleyball court so I could talk with my friends.
I'm the only person I know to nearly fail PE. The teacher bumped my mark to a 50% so I'd get the credit.
The teacher was cute.
;)

Lee said...

> Shenanigans in the disused farmhouse on the college grounds didn't count as scoring, apparently.

A complete oversight, naturally, Quenny.

Imogen said...

To my eternal embarrassment, I actually did fail PE, due to a flippant offhand remark which stopped me from even pretending to participate in the whole PE shenanigan for the final two years of compulsory hockey, and rendered me the charming status of ?pregnant teen?. PE teachers don?t seem to have to know a whole lot about biology to have believed this, although anyone who understands the complicated awfulness that is lacrosse is a law unto themselves.

surly girl said...

doesn't anyone want to know about when i got my hair caught in a rounders bat?

Donna said...

two years seems an awfully long time to be pregnant ...

Donna said...

Hey SG ... tell us about the time your hair got caught in a rounders bat ...

Lee said...

Of course we do, SG. *Then* I'll tell you the time I got my hand caught up Dame Judi Dench after mistaking her for a vending machine in the dark...

Donna said...

I didn't even know it was possible to fail P.E.! Since when has it been an examined subject - maybe they've introduced it in the (only very few) years I've left school. How hideous.

CyberPete said...

I helped take out the wollyball net etc. that could take about 10 minutes to get done, then I'd let people cut in line and leave the court 15 minutes early. A class suddenly wasn't that long and I hadn't even done anything.
Then there was the football. That was just standing near the goal and of course there were the times I just simply refused to do what I was told. My teachers had given up on me by 5th grade. Still I got sufficient every year til graduation.

Imogen said...

Hey Donna- thanks for making me feel good about my failure!

Inexplicable DeVice said...

I seem to recall being utterly useless at football so when we had to play hockey, naturally, I was one of the last ones to be picked. To my horror I was ordered to go in goal.
Then, in a exquisite twist of fate, I turned out to be actually good in goal. The fact that I was covered in padding and had longer arms and legs than everyone else must've helped.
To this day, I look back with fond memories about hockey being the only sport I was good at.

Oh, and Surly Girl, how did it happen? How?

epicurist said...

"...you could run a little way out, do a faux-kick in its general direction (think chorus line, but without jazz-hands)..." - ~ fucking brilliant!

Rugby was my chance to grope as many lovely buttocks as possible without getting punched in the head.

Frank said...

I'm a Yank, so it was baseball instead of cricket and football instead of football, but you pretty much summed up my gym survival strategies. Ah, memories... horrible, horrible memories. And I didn't even have the good fortune of a disused farmhouse to console me.

tornwordo said...

It's so funny what posts get the most feedback. It's like the post that keeps on giving!

Spaceminx said...

When I was 11 I fell off a wall & cut my finger open. I then had a tetanus jab in my leg which deadened it & it got me out of PE for ages. Almost worth falling off a wall for.

Snooze said...

Now, what would you suggest for a gay curriculum for PE? Gym bunny 101? Club dancing moves? We do have to ensure after all that bois in training have hard bodies.

BipolarPrincess said...

It would always backfire on me during dodgeball, being the last one, with my best friend, because we were hiding behind those who actually participated. I will have to clue in my chubby piglet on these.

:* Princess

surly girl said...

well, if you're all going to insist....

the rounders bat had a lovely rubbery sheath thing on the handle. you could roll it back (as i am typing this i realise how utterly wrong that sounds) and when it unravelled back to it's original position it made a lovely sort of squeeching noise. except you had to hold it really close to your ear to hear it. and i hadn't tied my hair back.

hilarity ensued. i had a bald spot for weeks.

carry on.

Lee said...

I have laughed my cock off, Surly Girl.

surly girl said...

oh dear.please apologise to the wife for me....

MQ said...

I was going to tell you off for exaggerating so much, but with much reflection I have had to admit that actually, your description is spot on.

Although I think I managed to cover it up by pretending quite well to try hard. In fact I once got an effort/attainment grade of "A/4", which roughly means: "tries hard. still crap."

St. Dickeybird said...

Epicurist! Good plan - putting your head between those muscley thighs in a scrum...
Wish I'd thought of that in High School...

Fuckkit said...

I shamed the entire lesbian community by refusing to play any kind of sport ever. To this day I am not a member of any "ladies" (and I use that term loosely)football or rugby team and never intend to be.

Ever.

Lee said...

They'll have your Lesbian Card back, Fuckkit! You won't be able to bulk-buy Birkenstocks!

:)

Fuckkit said...

How I miss the complimentary dungerees they took back from me in '97.

klee said...

Year in year, out I got the 'Chris is conscientious, C' comment on my PE report card...

You missed something out on cricket. The utter horror of the ball landing near you and having to *THROW* it. Underarm. Oh, the shame.

Can't catch, can't throw, can run you up some lovely scatter cushions and a plate of scones though.

klee said...

Year in year, out I got the 'Chris is conscientious, C' comment on my PE report card...

You missed something out on cricket. The utter horror of the ball landing near you and having to *THROW* it. Underarm. Oh, the shame.

Can't catch, can't throw, can run you up some lovely scatter cushions and a plate of scones though.

MQ said...

A+ for sponge cake? What went wrong? (Cf the recent cake effort)