Monday, 22 April 2013

This sporting life

One thing that I could never be accused of of which I could never be accused (let's at least try for proper grammar) is taking part in sport to the detriment of anything and everything else.  I am not - and never have been - a sportsman.  It was only on very rare occasions that I failed to be excused from playing rugby at school; I failed dismally at cricket as, when batting, I always shut my eyes when the ball was bowled and when bowling, I never managed to get the ball to the other end of the pitch.  The one and only time I "took part" in a game of hockey I kept tripping myself up with the stick.  And tennis?  Let's not even go there.  I realised at a very early age that any sport involving a ball or similar projectile was not for me.

That said, I did - for a while - become reasonably proficient at darts.  When I worked for the bank there was an annual inter-branch knock-out competition and the team from my branch - of which I was a member - actually won it one year.  My speciality was hitting the numbers across the bottom of the dart board, especially the 19.  The 5, 20 and 1 - being across the top of the board - were out of my reach.

On Harrison's Rocks - but that's not me!
My sport, if sport it can be called, was rock climbing.  Not that I was ever really any good at it,
but I did enjoy it.  What surprises many people is that here in Sussex we have some of the trickiest climbing in the country.  No, not the chalk cliffs: they are far too dangerous.  Inland, in the Weald, there is a sandstone ridge with several outcrops where the rocks are 50' to 60' high.  Not especially high, but still tricky.  There are none of those big, solid hand- and footholds one associates with the granite rocks of the Lake District or the Wye valley.  Climbing at Harrison's Rocks or Eridge is a delicate matter of balance.

But there are occasions when I really push my luck and try my hand at other sports - yes, even at my age of three score years and getting on for eleven!  Tonight is to be one of those occasions.  Every year, our local Lions Clubs take it in turn to lay on an event in what we call our Zone Olympics.  One club organises a toad-in-the-hole competition, another a shuffleboard evening.  There is usually a quiz and 10-pin bowling.  Tonight we are playing pub games: darts, pool and shove ha'penny.  I am now far too dangerous to be pointed at the dart board and you can forget pool, but shove ha'penny is about my level.  Tony and I did pretty well last year, if my memory serves me, and we are hoping to do at least as well tonight.


(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

I was a fair rock climber...
...would've been better if I could clamber back down.

Brighton Pensioner said...

Which reminds me...

Maybe tomorrow.