Monday, 25 August 2008

Free sports

I remember when SA was allowed back into international sports (am I showing my age here or what?). Everyone at my primary school was so excited that they set up TVs in the hall, the woodwork room, the needlework room  - wherever there was space. (Was there really a need for subjecting young girls to hell on earth in a special room? It's a bit dubious: the needles, the isolation. It was so they couldn‘t hear our screams…) When we had a free lesson, or, to be honest, whenever we really wanted to, we could go and watch whatever game was happening. The teachers were all watching anyway. It was kewl.

Sadly I went to an all girls' high school and most of the teachers were women. Now many of the teachers and many of the girls liked sports, at least at national level, and wanted to know scores. But because we were an academically obsessed school that held the premise that women did not care less about scores we did not set up TVs. This was dumb because no one did any work when there was a match on, as we were all wondering what the hell the score was.

Girls schools are all about denial and repression and secrets and desires. So we denied our repressed desires to follow sports. And followed them in secret. We had an underground network system, our very own bush telegraph. Certain girls and teachers had radios or even TVs hidden in their classrooms, and our system ensured that anyone who wanted to could know the score without publicly acknowledging an obsession with sport. Our teachers used to phone each other for occasional updates. Sweet. 

I have a feeling that the initial fever over our sporting endeavors had faded somewhat. It was exciting when we were new and winning. Now we are old hats, and our star has faded a bit, but I am always looking forward to new exploits and great moments. Sport has the ability to inspire even immovable underachievers like me.


redsaid said...

Yes. Synchronised swimming is what I love best.

Hahaha. Okay, just kidding. I actually don't like sports. In fact, 'don't like' is too kind. But I have to admit, there are some events and times when you just get swept up. Like last year's RWC. And the one in 1995. (And I don't even GET rugby.)

P.S. Totally off the subject: If you did vote for me last week? Thank you! It worked. If you didn't... then I sure as hell don't know who did! Because many people in my life didn't even! (They weren't being malicious... they just don't have Internet access/techno know-how.)

So I do understand what you mean.

po said...

Howdy redsaid

Synchronised swimming is the splash-free bomb. Don't diss it. Did you know we had a South African competing in the rhythmic gymnastics at the Olympics? Fact of the day.

P.S. Humungous congrats on your twist success, I may just have voted for you bubbly story :)

po said...


Actually I competed in some synchronised swimming comps at school, yes we had these, an all girls school of course. We never actually learned how to do any moves beyond sticking one leg in the air like a stork. While trying not to drown.

One of our routines was performed to Tubthumping's "I get knocked down"; very graceful indeed :)

redsaid said...

*Giggling uncontrollably at the visual of the synchronised swimming to "I get knocked down"* I'm also trying my best to come up with a funny title by somehow turning the down in the song into drown, but it's late and I'm sick... so I'm not getting anything!

Who was the rhythmic gymnast? Do you know her name? (I'm assuming it's a girl...) I interviewed one once, so I'm wondering if it could be the same one? She was 14 and out of control good with those ribbons. Was an All-Africa champ, or something mightily impressive like that.

P.S. THANK YOU for voting! I swear, you are one of the few that did!! :-)

po said...

Hey, yes it could be the same girl, her name is Odette Richard.

Sadly SA is not in the same league as the top gymnastics nations but she did us proud.

po said...

You think that soundtrack is funny, the next year I was appointed bloody choreographer and the much younger girl doing it with me chose "Backstreets back allright". Okay, for me, grunge fan, who hates all boybands, that was the ultimate in humiliation.