I am writing this blog in front of the TV waiting for the Opening Ceremony of the Commonweath Games to begin.
Mr B, who as
you all know is the World's Most Fervent Supporter of All Sports, is in his element. I, for my part, am sitting here contemplating on the fact that I am the least sporty person I know. Why is this so? And is there anything I can do about it,
given what Young Faris likes to call my "Great Age."
I was quite a good runner in my youth. However, sadly, I always came second in our Junior School Sports Days
to one Rita Hayworth. No, not that Rita Hayworth, how old do you think I am, you cheeky things? There was one race I will always remember because I beat Rita Hayworth into second place. Just. Unfortunately because it was such a close finish, and because Rita
always won, the teacher in charge awarded first place to Rita. The thing is, you do know when you are the first to break through the finish tape. So I am quite sure I won. I don't blame Rita Hayworth (who was, if I remember right, a skinny lass with nothing
going for her apart from her flying feet) and it was my first lesson into the subject of The Unfairness of Life. It has not scarred me for life, let's face it, though the fact that I still remember it, sixty years on, suggests it rankled slightly in my childish
Then there was the story of the Butlin's Chase. I am pretty sure I have told you this story before but a good story can bear the re-telling, I always think.
We were at Billy Butlin's Minehead Camp and my proud parents (who obviously believed whole-heartedly that I had beaten Rita Hayworth) persuaded me to enter the four mile race. Well, mostly down to my extreme stubbornness and refusal to give in (traits which
have landed me in lots of trouble over the course of my life) I won the race. It was, however, the aftermath of this not-so-very-famous victory which was the most amusing. Everyone wanted me in their team after that. Rounders? Team games? Cricket? I was never
in my life in such demand. Sadly nobody had checked whether I could actually catch or throw a ball with even a modicum of accuracy. They soon learnt. Poor things.
You will gather from this that I have
never exactly covered myself in sporting glory. I might now be comforting myself with the thought that I am now a bit past my sporting best (whatever and whenever that was - presumably breasting the tape ahead of Rita Hayworth) but I seem to have
a lot of friends and relatives who are running half marathons, cycling over their age in miles, or deciding to try their hand at the triathlon just for the sake of it. Try as I might (and, as you well know, Mr B says I am very trying) I can't see
me developing so much as a single sporting bone in my body at this late stage.
It turns out that Mr B has the right approach after all. You don't need to be able to run to appreciate an ace sprinter
flying round the track or the endurance of the marathon runners. You don't have to be able to swim like a fish to celebrate the achievements of the experts of the breast stroke, the free style and the butterfly. Judo, boxing, gymnastics, every sport
on the Commonwealth Games programme. Just watch and marvel.
Let the Games begin!