You can keep the sporting life

November 6, 2012 Comments Off on You can keep the sporting life

Sport at school was the bane of my life, which probably has something to do with my current, persisting aversion to exercise. The truth is, if you’re the sporty type, I was (and still am) your worst nightmare, especially when it came to the inevitable team-choosing fiasco for games of rounders at Physical Education classes.

Remember that awkward, chubby little girl who  was always left behind when the two captains had chosen their teams? “You take her,” says one of them.

“No, you can have her,” says the other, trying to sound magnanimous and failing.

Well, that awkward, chubby little girl is me. In politically correct terms, I suppose you would think of me as athletically challenged – and I’m sad to say not much has changed. I’m just taller now. Oh, and fatter.

I did try, though – I feel I should be given some credit for trying. In Std 2 I decided to try my hand at hockey. We had to do one winter sport every year, so I grabbed a hockey stick and set off for the bottom field. Two minutes into the practice my mind was made up – my ankles were far too precious, and besides, those girls looked really mean, even in Std 2.

And so I opted for netball, at which I was not a great success. I wasn’t fast enough, I flinched every time the ball came anywhere near me, and then, sin of all sins, I often had to leave early to get to drama lessons. I persevered, though, and by the time I left high school, I had made it into the school’s seventh netball team.

If you ask my father why I never excelled at sport, he’s likely to tell you what he’s been telling me for the last three and a half decades or so. “She’s lazy,” he’ll snort. “If she could find someone to breathe for her, she would.”

He’s right – I am lazy. I also don’t see the point of most sports. Take running, for example. You leave home, get hot and out of breath, damage your knees and ankles, and all for the sole purpose of going home again when it’s all over.

Ditto cycling – why on earth would I willingly get dressed in spandex shorts with a built-in nappy and climb on a bicycle, simply to leave home with the purpose of returning in a state of dire exhaustion? It makes no sense at all. Besides, aren’t bicycles supposed to be a mode of transport? And if they are, does that mean that driving is also exercise? I certainly do enough of that running Mom’s Taxi.

Considering that I can’t throw, catch or hit a ball at all, any sport that involves any kind of ball skill is also completely out. Which doesn’t leave me many options. It’s actually so bad that I had to insist my children went to Playball, a sports coaching system for younger children. Because really, they don’t stand a chance of learning any kind of athletic skill from me, and their father isn’t home enough to teach them to throw and catch a ball, or to skip without tripping themselves up on the rope. Anything sports-related I taught them… well, actually I have nothing to teach.

And yet, everything I read tells me I need to exercise for my health. So what am I to do?

I have considered being a rugby forward, as I’m told they don’t really need to be able to catch a ball. Also, I suspect contact sport is the way to go for me – I’m pathologically clumsy. Even off the sports field, I’m far more likely to bump into both people and stationary objects, (especially if a particularly delicious man happens to be walking on the far end of the field).

So I’d probably be quite good at scrumming and tackling, especially given my not inconsiderable body weight. The only catch is that I’d have to run in-between scrums and tackles, and as I’ve already mentioned, running is not one of my strong points. But they won’t have me. Because apart from my complete inability to run, my aforementioned lack of ball skills is fairly prohibitive.

So, if you can’t run, and you can’t throw or catch a ball, that pretty much rules out most sports. I’ve decided, therefore, after much deliberation, that exercise and I are simply completely incompatible, and that all forms of exercise should be rigorously avoided.

After all, I suspect I may actually be allergic to exercise – I’ve noticed that with alarming regularity, after a few sessions at the gym I come out in huge bumps on my arms and legs. My husband says they’re my muscles. I am not convinced.


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