As many of you will have noticed by now the UK has been the home of some major sporting activities over the last few weeks.
I haven't had much to say on the subject and it basically boils down to "Watched quite a lot more of it than I thought I was going to, quite enjoyed what i saw, but remain more interested in watching the Paralympics and will be vaguely glad when it's all over"
However, since the BBC sports department are busy grinning from ear to ear as all their birthday's come in one go - i thought I would tell you the story of why I never made it to the Olympics by recounting another of my occasional, and inevitable, list-o-fives.
This time the list is specific to Five Sports We Did At School - the time when most of these atheletes on the goggle box will have discovered their own sport.
Our school had a rugby team. All four of the male P.E. teachers were ex-army type Rugby players themselves. Once you got to your options in years 3-5 (where you could, to some extent, pick your subjects) there were PE options where there was nothing but Rugby all year long and if you were a member of the team then you were expected to pick that.
In short: at our school if you didn't like rugby, then you hated fun.
I hated rugby. I hated the scrum where you had to put your head between two other people and push towards a ball. I hated the idea of hulking great idiots who would tackle you regardless of whether you had the ball or not and try and bring you to the ground. Most games of rugby found me in "defence" (for which assume that "defence" means "as far away from the ball as possible without actually leaving the pitch")
Our Nation's sport and the subject of many a discussion into adult life - that inevitable question, "so, which football team do you support" as if it is without question that, of course, you support some club somewhere.
My skills at football were only vaguely better than rugby, in as much as I did once manage to kick the ball in a direction that was not entirely wrong - but again I never really developed an interest in it. The sad thing was that for one glorious week in year three the PE teacher took all the hulking morons who would growl at you and say "try and tackle me and I'll kick your head in" off onto a seperate pitch: presumably so that they could beat each other to death with a handy T-Rex.
This left all us weaklings and hopeless atheletes alone and the result was that we actually had some decent and enjoyable games - just showing that if we'd had this every week since day one then even I might have scored better than "could try harder" on my annual report (I ascribed to "could try harder" and mostly gained no better than "Pixie shows no interest in sport" - which considering the weekly death threats was no surprise)
Actually, I liked swimming and still like to go today - but at our school it wasn't sufficient to just take the kids to the swimming pool and let them do some lengths, oh no. You had to dive in and then swim really fast until you threw up (preferably in the water)
From an early age I'd always had a fear of diving in (most likely from my parent's decision to tell me the Dangers Of Splitting Your Head Open) and so I spent the first three years at school pretending to be a non swimmer so that i could remain in the shallow end and have some actual fun in the water, as opposed to torture.
We had two tarmac court spaces, with a total of 8 pitches at our school. There was a third, but this had long before descended into a staff car park.
Imagine 30 children to 8 pitches for one term a year, managing a total of two terms out of the five years we were in Stalag Senior School and you can immediately understand why none of us ever became the next Tim Henman. Actually, i rescind that comment - Tim Henman never won a major tennis competition that i'm aware of and niether have i - so on that level i achieved as much as he did...
Why it never occured to them to let us play knock out tournaments with one kid as umpire and anyone not able to fit onto the court as audience i don't know
#5: Cross Country Running
If the rugby pitch was too muddy for even the PE teacher to insist that we should play on and get covered in slime then we would be taken across the nearby field for a session of jumping over streams and falling over. We also had some annual long distance runs in which i always finished just ahead of the Class Fat Kid - IE right at the back
We also played Cricket a few times (I was, again, hopless as spent too much time avoiding balls that seemed to be aimed at my head, some track and field (i definately threw a discus and a shot putt at least once in five years and certainly managed to avoid spearing anyone with a javelin on at least one occasion. I never could jump over a hurdle though)
And of course - one sport we never played:
Much more my kinda thing - indoors in the dry, no actual chance of being injured deliberately or otherwise and some actual skill required.
However, since it didn't involve running about, falling over and lots of shouting it wasn't on the school curriculum and neither was darts. You may argue that it has no right to be either - as both are effectively Pub Games With Big Ideas for which i give you Beach Volleyball as an Olympic sport and rest my case