I have never been a fan of competitive sports at school for a number of reasons and have had various differing experiences over the years. Below are a few prime examples:
My primary school were amazing at ensuring I was fully included in all team sports. I remember being given 10 minutes extra time at the end of every sports lesson to give me time to get changed as I had the fun and games of getting my splints on and off. Also due to my CP my coordination is pretty poor so these things just take more effort and time. Even the annual sports day at the end of the summer term. At sports day everyone would be included in at least one race. Everyone at school was a member of a different house or team who would all create team camps in the middle of the athletics track. There were posters, flags and lots of cheering. I always remember doing the 800 metres. Everyone else lined up on the start line, but I would walk away from the start with my sports teacher to give me a head start. My teacher and I would walk forward she would ask me when I thought I was far enough ahead, I would stop and get ready to run my race. This meant that I finished nearly at the same time as everyone else as a result of my head start. However, I still finish last despite my accelerated start, but I had the whole school cheering me over the finish line when I was the last one left running. Although this was a lovely attitude for my school to have about me getting involved in sports day, I still remember being massively embarrassed about being the last one left running. This whole experience apparently bought my mum to tears as she just couldn’t believe that I did it! I had no idea at the time-I was just trying to hide how embarrassed I was at being the last one over the line. The whole school was just waiting for the tortoise to get a move on so the next race could be started!
Unfortunately my experience of sport at secondary school was not as positive. I have a vivid memory of one lesson when we were playing lacrosse (definitely not the sport for me) during the warm up, my shoelace came undone. My teacher spotted this and straight away bent down to do up my shoelace as she thought I was not capable. I just stood there baffled by her assumptions and confused as to how I ended up in that situation. I know I am slow but I reckon that if I am able to put my shoes on I can just about manage to tie the lace up! Sports day and team sports were not the same as at primary school, if you were not super sporty and competitive they did very little to include you in sports. Sports day was only for a few select students who were actually good at athletics. I remember during an athletics lesson we were doing hurdles. I was encouraged by my teacher to run alongside the hurdles and be a pace maker during for those actually doing them. Despite the fact that I didn’t even jump any hurdles I still finished after my friends-pretty useless pacemaker I was! Being timed to do the 100 meters was just mortifying as I would be so nervous starting alongside everyone else. When our teacher blew the whistle everyone else would shoot off ahead of me like an undercover Usain Bolt. I would be left flailing around behind panting like a basset hound. Meanwhile everyone else had already crossed the line and were getting bored waiting for me whilst the stop watch kept ticking. So when I finally made it over legs like jelly I was completely embarrassed and just hated being the last one running. I remember during any netball or basketball lessons dreading the part when we had to play matches. This was because I was so scared that I would be passed the ball, drop it or miss the pass and mess up for the rest of the team. My teammates would quickly learn that it was not worth passing me the ball so I just ran up and down the court like a headless chicken in slow mo waving my arms around like I was trying and failing to fly! I was then just frustrated that I was not involved enough in the game. I could just never win (literally and figuratively!)
So all in all I have had a pretty mixed time with sports at school. This is both due to my attitude and embarrassment about sport as well as the attitude of those around me. I have come to realise now that team sport is just not for me. Thankfully I do manage to enjoy sport but I just stick to the individual ones so I don’t have to cope with the embarrassment. I make a great lonesome elephant on a treadmill.
One thought on “School Sports”
Yazzi – I love the honesty of your blog and the insights they bring about how people react to others living with disability- good on you x