Awkward Situations for Girls: Taking up sport after the Olympic Games
11:52 03 October 2012
Once you turn thirty, you can start to admit what you never felt you could admit at school:
I am bad at sport.
I am, I’m bad at it. There is no more kidding myself I was picked last for netball aged 13 because I’m short, and nobody could see me behind 6-foot Anna-Helga; I was picked last because the same team saw me shin myself with a hockey stick the previous Autumn. When I was standing still. Swinging the stick.
Being bad at sport is the reason why the Olympic Games were so brilliant - our own [in]ability didn’t matter a jot. We lived vicariously through talented, committed athletes, and screamed with joy for their achievements, feeling proud of our own achievement - namely being from the same country. ‘I’m British too - woo!’
I was lucky enough to be taken to the Olympics twice by British Airways, the official airline partner of the London 2012 Olympic Games. I attended the Beach Volleyball final, and chose to support the runaway favourite, Brazil. Who then lost. I then went to the indoor Volleyball final at Earl’s Court, and chose there to support the runaway favourite, Brazil. Who then lost.
Brazil, I am so sorry. I am your sporting albatross.
The excitement of live sport was a bit too much for me during the Games. ‘I want a permanent piece of this,’ I thought, wearing my union jack tights like a pro. ‘I want this feeling to live on.’
Three weeks ago, I made that dream a reality. My sister and I won a local lottery to receive 8 weeks of free beginner’s tennis lessons, funded by the Olympic Legacy. And it’s going really well.
In week one, I got separated from my sister when an instructor heard me whisper ‘I’m going to wallop this ball in your FACE’ during a gentle rally. I am 30 and she is 39.
In week two, they told us that our membership at the tennis club automatically enters us into the draw for Wimbledon.
‘What, to play?!’ I gaped.
‘…For tickets,’ they said. Oh. Of course.
In week three, a girl I have named The Prancing Pony joined our class. Partially naked, in those shorts which show a cheeky bit of bum, she proceeded to smash balls at me, which I missed, too distracted was I by her jiggly neon-brassiered boobs.
Today is week four, and I have a secret weapon:
I have been to Sports Direct. And I have purchased Team GB wrist sweatbands.
Now, decked out in the same battle dress as my sporting heroes - those athletes who made our summer so adrenalin-fuelled and awe-inspiring - I must knuckle down to some hard work. For my ball toss won’t toss itself - at least not straight up; my chopper grip won’t chop itself - not without searing pain up my arm when I lug the racket up and over my head in a clumsy attempt to serve. With a forearm swing that could knock out a few grannies, and a backhand aim that will almost certainly wipe out small civilisations like Gibraltar, I am throwing myself headlong into the world of sport - and you’d all better watch out.
Thank you to British Airways for taking me to the London 2012 Olympic Games as part of their very cool #HomeAdvantage campaign, cheering on Team GB
I’m having free beginner’s tennis lessons at The Pavilion in Muswell Hill, as part of Freesport 2012 funded by the Mayor of London and the Olympic Legacy