Guy reminisces on a childhood of sporting mishaps
There I was a lad of fifteen, head down feverishly writing at breakneck speed. It was the school application test prior to the O levels. Suddenly out of the blue, I hear this voice and see the invigilator standing beside me. "There is a black sheep in every family" he utters and walks on. I was stunned, looked up again and recognised that it was indeed our football coach. It was clear to me that this was his way of admonishing me for dodging football practice sessions over the preceding three weeks. I must have been a good enough centre half to be missed or was I just deluding myself! I neither sighted the football field nor did I contact the coach again.
Of course I continued playing Basketball and Cricket. Time travels so fast and the GCE O levels were fast approaching. It was time to knuckle down to some serious study. My class teacher had already advised me to do so. I had got on well with the basketball coach and had been captaining the team for a few months. Basketball practice sessions had to be reduced and I started skipping quite a few. The day dawned when we were playing against a prestigious Colombo school at home. I got to the basketball court early and started warming up for a good half an hour or so.
What are you doing here? a loud bark is heard aimed towards me. Alas! It was the raging coach charging forward towards me. Warming up sir, I pleaded sheepishly. You are not playing retorted the coach angrily ushering me off the court. I couldn't bear watching the match and raced home crestfallen! My second ignominious sporting exit.
I still had the gentleman's game cricket to fall back on. Helmets were unheard of during this time. Batting at number seven during an inter school match I got hit on the head by a viciously rising ball from a medium pacer. Thankfully I escaped serious injury but it shook me up. Now the A level exam was round the corner and I had to switch to exam mode. I was third time lucky! The cricket coach made the decision for me. He advised me to concentrate on preparation for the exam and released me from playing cricket. He invited me to join the rest of the team for the annual Big Match in a non playing role which I really appreciated. Although I missed playing in the so called battle of the Crabs the occasion was joyous and victorious for us.
My last standout sporting mishap was in the annual inter house sports meet. It was the final of the 110 meters high hurdles and I was in the lead right from the start. Glory beckoned as I cleared the last hurdle in first place. And then disaster! I landed awkwardly on my left foot and bit the dust. It was simply not my day. How much more could I have taken on my chin? That was my sporting comeuppance and I bid a sporting goodbye!