Monday 6 August 2012

Dotlympics 2012: Day 10

I'm beginning to get P.E. anxiety. The reason is the hurdles.

Jumping over shit is hard enough, without having to take a running jump at it. Oh, and if you trip over you'll lose all your teeth and everyone else will laugh at you. I hated hurdles whenever they came out in school P.E. lessons. Partially because they always meant there was going to be some hurdling. But mainly because they always accompanied a lecture about hurdle safety.

You have to put the legs out facing you. If you hit the hurdle, then, the hurdle will fall over. Put them the wrong way round and you could really hurt yourself. The implication being that fat tubs of shit like me were going to hit the hurdles, but as we were more likely to attain actual academic qualifications for the school it would be best - with one eye on the league tables - if we were to not die.

Switching one of the hurdles round the wrong way has always struck me as being the ideal plot for an episode of Columbo. To this day, I still can't think of anything more dangerous. A carelessly set up hurdle could see you end up really twisting your melon in a big way.

Watching the professional athletes do it, therefore, is always accompanied by a muscle memory of stress and panic within me. But it's normally placated somewhat by the great skill of the practitioners. These are people who know what they're doing. They could leap over a hurdle with flying colours, whichever way round or up it was.

Unfortunately for me, in the first hurdle race I saw this time round, an early heat in the women's 400 metre hurdles event, an African runner did a colossal face plant after tripping over the second hurdle, leaving her looking like Beth Tweddle eating a bag of limes.

Since which time I have been hiding under the bed, where there are no hurdles.

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