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Feb 13 2012

Bad at games

A little while back I was sitting down with colleagues for coffee, we were bemoaning the grim time we had at school in PE (physical education) lessons. My colleagues and I are all scientists, we excelled in other areas at school. For much of my school life I abhorred “games” lessons, if there were teams to be picked then I would be second to last to be selected – just before the fat kid in the class. I have a clear memory of members of my own team attacking me on the rugby pitch. These experiences were common to my colleagues. It isn’t even that I am particularly unfit, it was simply that I didn’t get on with organised team sports or activities; I couldn’t see the point.

My revelation was that there are no doubt a multitude of parallel groups that said the same of their maths lessons, physics lessons, English lessons… They did not excel at the activities with which they were presented, they couldn’t see the point of them and ultimately they have found they have little relevance to their vocations but they needed to get something from those lessons.

For me finding the way is simply to go to the gym three times a week at the crack of dawn, engaging in a variety of slightly pointless activities whilst listening to radio 4’s Today program and watching soundless “Heartbeat”. I wish my PE lessons had given me this 30 years ago.

2 comments

  1. Simon

    I hated games at school, too. Luckily, we weren’t a rugby school- Preston is too far North for Rugby League heartland, and my school was solid working class so Union was unheard-of. But boy, did I suffer from football. In our place, if you weren’t any good at football, it was assumed you had no interest in games, so they made you run round the playing fields while everyone else did something more interesting, and this I hated, having little fitness at the time. Later I discovered cycling- not for sporting reasons but as an escape from my five younger siblings and all the arguments. I never saw it as sport, and although I was vaguely aware of racing (I had a friend who did time trials with Preston Wheelers), I had no interest in that aspect. I used to go away for weekends in the Pennines or North Yorkshire, where we would ride 300 miles or more, Friday night-Sunday, and kip in hedges and barns. With the fitness this gave me, I started running at Uni, and discovered to my total amazement that I wasn’t bad at it. So I exemplify an unsuccessful school sports model. I hate gyms though; I always feel like a hamster when I’m on a treadmill.

  2. Ian

    Yes, as a family we always did a lot of walking which meant I was tolerably fit as a child. This lapsed a bit in my later years, but I’ve also taken up skiing which requires some level of fitness for the way we do it.

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