It may be that the Olympic legacy, to inspire and motivate the generations to take up sport, is kicking in early. Be that as it may, I have been wondering what kind of sport I might I take up in retirement?
Something new, something exciting, something not TOO energetic...
Being still under the influence of Katie and Eleanor, I have resorted to the Wii and, specifically, "Mario and Sonic at Olympics
2012." This offers me the opportunity to try out all kinds of sports in the safety and seclusion of my own living room.
If you haven't ever played Wii games, then you need to know that
you don't actually have to perform, as such. You don't have to be able to run or jump or turn a somersault. This should be an advantage to me, of course. Rather, it's all about your ability to lift, shake, twirl or balance a contraption which resembles
an early mobile phone in size and shape. This is the remote control - it has a strap which you tighten round your wrist (presumably so that you don't accidentally hurl it into the TV set while you are in the process of twirling, shaking, balancing or
Oh and that's the other thing. Nothing actually happens in your living room or wherever you happen to be standing, it all happens on the TV screen. And you can't be who
you are (though that might be a mercy...) you have to have a Mii. This is a kind of on-screen version of yourself but you get to choose your hair-style, the shape of your face, the size of your nose, the lift of your eye-brows.... well you get
the idea. My Mii is quite a bit slimmer, about twenty years younger and rather more attractive than me but, hey, that's the beauty of the Wii. Or the Mii.
Once selected, your very
own Mii will take your place, as it were, on the TV and will perform at any number of selected sports. How well your Mii performs will depend on how well-coordinated you are when lifting, shaking, balancing and twirling the remote control
you are clutching in your hot little hand.
In the case of Mario and Sonic at the Olympics, I can't be Mii (!) I have to choose a character to be. I choose to be a large, green crocodile
and opt to start with an equestrian event, in honour of Zara Phillips. Not (I write hurriedly) that Zara Phillips looks anything like a large, green crocodile, you understand, but she had just completed a clear round in the cross-country and I felt
it important to mark her success.
Well, it's a disaster from start to finish. My crocodile, mounted on a beautiful, but unfortunate, grey horse, crashes through fence after fence as
I fail to lift my handset in time to execute the sail-through-the-air which I had intended. Worse, because my handset is unbalanced (strange, that...) my crocodile is leaning so far out of the saddle that it's only a matter of time till he falls
off. Which he does. Unceremoniously. With a notable lack of regal elegance and flair.
I turn to gymnastics and, in particular, Rhythmic Ribbon, which I seem to remember I was quite good at (or,
at least, not too bad at) last Christmas. I choose The Blue Danube as our music on the grounds that at least I know the tune. It doesn't seem to make much difference; I fail to send my crocodile into the required fast spin (despite much twirling
of the remote control.) As for then leading into the required arabesque, well this is all about balance, I fear. I am not good at balance. The crocodile ends the routine in a disconsolate tangle of (un)rhythmic
My crocodile and I fare no better at archery, table-tennis, beach volleyball (ever seen a crocodile in a bikini?), the long jump, the high jump and what used to be called the "hop,
step and jump" in my day but now has a far grander, and less accurate, title.
It's all, far, far, too much for little old Mii.