I can’t catch a ball, and was always the last to be picked for teams playing anything at school. In fact, after a bout of pleurisy at 15, I had a note from my mother, excusing me from P.E. lessons at school which included the magical phrase
“Janice shouldn’t partake in PE lessons for some time, owing to her health”.
I carried this around for the 3 years remaining at school, and never partook again.
Somehow, over the years I have become an interested spectator. I enjoy the atmosphere of live football (soccer, and American football) matches, where I care about the outcome….so Huddersfield Town getting promoted a division last season sparked some interest. I have only seen one Green Bay Packers game live…..but it was an incredible spectacle.
Even as a stroppy 15 year old who hated sport, I recall skipping school to visit Wimbledon, queuing for standing tickets in the days before centre court was all seats, and then worrying about TV coverage and being spotted in the crowd when I should have been at school. Lew Hoad turned and smiled at me, when I applauded a shot on one of the outside practice courts in 1970. Now of course, Nadal has replaced Hoad and Rosewall in my affections.
I have perfected the same half interested way of questioning my husband about his golf games as my mother did when she pretended to care how dad had got on……however, I find myself looking forward to the Ryder Cup every 2 years.
Cricket has also become something of a fascination. It’s the 5 day nature of test matches that I find absorbing. The tactics, the pace, the rhythm, and recognising that even over 5 days, every ball bowled is important….. it all has me hooked. Travelling to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth to watch us lose and then win the Ashes over the last few years has helped cement my interest. I haven’t been to a Brisbane test yet….. something to be remedied I suspect. We’re off to India this November and will include the Kolkata test in our travels.
So….the London Olympics……
My father was an amateur athlete in his youth. During his national service stint he spent time in Berlin (during the airlift…..another story), and trained in the somewhat derelict at that time, Olympic stadium, used for the 1936 Olympics. This was the stadium where Jesse Owens upset Hitler’s applecart by winning a couple of gold medals despite not being blond and blue eyed. Ironically, my father, who loved athletics, missed the 1948 London Olympics as he was in Berlin. Had he been at home, he could almost have walked to Wembley stadium from his north London home in Hendon. So he missed London 1948, and died 5 years ago…..but as least he knew GB had won the bid to hold the games in 2012.
|Dad, at the Berlin Olympic Stadium, 1948|
We have some athletics tickets, and have shared them out amongst our children ( those who have managed to secure babysitting services for the appointed days) and will be among the thousands of people held up in dreadful traffic and travel problems, security nightmares, toilet queues, pouring rain, etc. etc……..but I am looking forward to it.
So…..I’m not interested in sport……except when I am.