Friday, 3 March 2017

Getting Picked Last For Games.


We need a change of subject today.....it's all been a bit too much....an emotional vet based jacuzzi .
I will post " Winnie News" later but for now we shall talk about the knotty subject of being picked last for games!
When I posted the amazing photo of the " clay people" two days ago, a senior nurse from my hospital tagged it with the byline " staff of ITU waiting for the allocation"
It got me thinking.
At every shift handover the ten nursing staff coming on to duty will stand in a rough line at the end of the ward. The nurse in charge will then allocate each member of staff to their respective patient taking into account skill mix, experience, continuity and request.
It sounds slightly old fashioned but it works in this context.
Being a very part time member of the team I am often the last to be allocated.
The ritual always reminds me of being picked for games when I was eleven.

I was never picked last for games as a kind but I was down there with the fat kids for sure. It's a memory of shame that still resonates some forty years later!
Hopeless at football and rugby I was always picked third or fourth boy or so from last. Only two obese lads and a skinny boy with gross coordination problems were left slumped, shamed and sad against the external wall of the sports hall when the sporty , tall boy leaders picked their teams in a ritual full of misery for the untalented and unpopular.
I was always grateful for not being last but miserable that I was as good as! So to speak.

I doubt schools continue with this ritual anymore. I do hope that they don't -for the negativity of allocation does remain with you into adulthood despite being ably camoflagued by humour and " confidence" .

63 comments:

  1. Banishing this tradition would probably be the only time I stood up for the 'political correctness' argument. I was never the very last but one day the teacher put the girls who were always chosen last at the front and told THEM to pick the teams. That was interesting.

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    1. Yes..interesting...not sure if that would have worked when i was a kid. A product of more potential bullying

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  2. I was always last so I was not even picked but allocated by default (skinny kid with gross co-ordination issues)

    I also look back and remember being permanently on the end of the line for batting. Giving my place to someone else was a win-win because i didn't have to try to hit the ball and the other kid was closer to having a go.

    This method of choosing teams is still in use and it can be cruel but I must say I love the mechanism. It really makes sure the teams are as close as possible to an even match.

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    1. True , but it emphases that the crap players are INDEED the crap players

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  3. Being asthmatic and short, I was notoriously crap at games. I was the right height for gymnastics, but an ear infection one Winter left me with suspect balance and a fear of being upside down. Always stuck at Wing Defence for netball, last up at rounders, and my record at high jump was lower than the world record for limbo. What I didn't know at the time was a firework spark in my left eye had damaged my vision, so I could never see a ball coming towards me if I was side on. Explains my uselessness at rounders, tennis & squash. Then there was the issue of the time I kneecapped the school sports captain during a hockey bully-off...

    But for a couple of years, our school was allowed access to the local leisure centre to try out different sports. I found a couple I was OK at. Badminton, where you stand face on much of the time, so I actually got to hit the shuttlecock! And strangest of all, fencing, where my lack of height gave me an unfair advantage in that I could get under my opponent's defence. And as by now, my dad was a milkman, and I helped him at weekends, I had built up a bit of strength, so when it came to athletics, I found an event I was actually better at than some of the usual shining stars - the shot putt. It was even mooted that I represent the school at the borough games. But it turned out there was only one other entry, so my event was cancelled. My one and only chance to show any sporting prowess - gone.

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    1. My sports journey went through badminton too! I found i was rather good at it

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  4. You have sparked some memories for me there. I recall those poor lads too - the fat ones, the gangly ones, the ones with thick glasses. Poor sods. A bit like Billy Casper in "Kes". Of course, I was always either a captain or the first or second picked - especially in rugby where I was a demon forward. Nothing was allowed to stand in my way.

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    1. Interesting to see someone from the " other" side

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  5. I hated games, so would always lurk in the background, trying to look invisible and hoping I wouldn't be picked ! I'd always try to be out first, so that I could go back to the bench and read my book.

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  6. Nobody ever wanted me on their team either. On top of that, I have gone through my entire working life having to persuade others that I am the right man for the job. The allocation of nurse to patient must be the only sensible way of going about it.

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    1. Whenever I played cricket - which is not much - I was always the last man in. The responsibilty to save the game being put on the least able of players always seemed crazy to me.

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    2. I am not surprised, Tom. There is something fickle about you. However,in a most likely wasted attempt to cheer you up: Do you actually consider yourself team material? Some people aren't. Which is fine. Kicking a ball, or anything, around in a listless fashion will not so much keep you in the field as on the sidelines. Still, it's never too late to mend our ways if so inclined ...

      U

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    3. Did she cheer you up thomas?

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    4. Oh yes indeedy! Nice to know I am not the most nasty bastard in the woodshed after all.

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  7. I hated games and sports at school and still do! When I was fielder in rounders I would go and walk to the furthest point away possible and find a tree to sit under!

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  8. You didn't know it, John, and how could you: In the midst of your vast and admirable readership you do harbour a saint. Yes, me, Ursula. A beeping saint.

    I was good at sports, thus never subjected to that most humiliating exercise of being one of the lessers. I also was, still am, observant. I notice things. So, one day, we must have been about seventeen/eighteen, it was my turn (we took turns) to put together a team. Let the drum rolls shatter your ears. Your very own socialist and fair minded Ursula picked all the weaklings first. John, it was hilarious. My teacher gasped for a second, but on realizing I was taking the piss, showing the "elite" the errors of their ways, didn't interfere. Sweetheart, the faces of the fastest, the best, were a sight to behold as they fell one by one. Taught them a lesson I was assured they'd never forget. My popularity ratings? They hit the roof. If for different reasons.

    U

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    1. Blast, John. Just remembered I left out the punchline to my story. My team WON! Yes, my team of so called "losers" won. Thus is the power of giving people confidence, the will to succeed in the face of adversity and, temporarily, stifling the spirit of those accustomed to be chosen fir "winning".

      Way to go, don't you think?

      U

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  9. I too was only any good at shot putt. I once demolished a wall. Hockey I was always in goal being the most horizontally challenged i.e. fat.

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  10. As one of the fat kids I was always picked last and often they said "do we have to take him". I avoided sports as much as I could.
    Peter

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  11. I had one gym teacher in high school, who understood - half of one semester - he did wonders for my self esteem. He is the basis for my mantra, of be the best YOU can.

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  12. I think this may still exist in the states . . .
    A child being robbed of self worth by peers is very sad . . .
    The memory stays . . .
    No doubt it stays with the one feeling not worthy
    and I wonder . . .
    does it stay with the one who was doing the choosing.

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  13. I was always last, because I wasn't particularly coordinated and was COMPLETELY disinterested in any sport. I usually stood in the outfield watching birds or insects, which got me yelled at more than once.

    I'm sorry Winnie took a turn but my fingers are crossed for continued improvement!

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    1. She comes home later today!

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  14. I was little and asthmatic, was always picked last and HATED games with a passion, till I hit 6th form and was allowed to play table tennis which I was OK at. Even worse (if that's possible) my school had compulsory communal showers, consisting of a corridor which we had to run through, naked, watched over by the gym teachers. Imagine how humiliating, for a bunch of adolescent and pre-adolescent girls at various stages of development!

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    1. I remember those painful showers very well

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    2. It does make you wonder about teachers doesn't it? The murky truth of years ago is all coming to light now !

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  15. Small, couldn't run, couldn't throw ... I was always picked last for netball. The humiliation is still with me. What was worse ... occasionally being chosen by a kind friend and knowing that it was a kindness and not because I was any good!

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    1. That kindness probably taught you more

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    2. That's true, John - and I think the humiliation made me determined to succeed in other things at school. It gave me a lifelong dislike of team games though!

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  16. I was always one of the last to be picked for football, rugby, basketball etc. It was a horrible feeling even though I knew full well I could never make a ball go where I wanted it to and possessed all the athletic prowess of a dead sloth.
    Luckily it was never an issue after I left school.

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    1. It stopped me trying games for ages..i only revisited badminton in my thirties

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  17. When I were a lad we had a certain Mr Williams as the head PE teacher. A man I am sure was thrown out of the SS for being too cruel. At the start of the three hour torture sessions he would stand the class against one wall and announce "sick, lame or lazy step forward". Having culled the undesirables the rest of the class changed into PE kit. If the class was in the gym the sick, lame and lazy were made to sit on the hard gym floor separated by enough space that they couldn't talk to anyone. If the class was outside you were stood at regular intervals around the rugby or football field.

    Having survives the initial cull the class was split into teams using the method you describe, most useless picked last. Once that was over attention was lavished to the golden boys who were destined for the school team. Looking back it seems crazy to me, but very typical, that the full attention of the teaching staff was given to those who were already "good" at PE while those who were not "good" were vilified and left to rot. Now, forty years later, I am left wondering how life could have been with a little positive encouragement and actual education.

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    1. I think every boy who was in school in the 1970s had a bastard PE teacher called Mr Williams

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    2. Our Mr Williams was Welsh, he was a hoot, he played rugby (of course) and used to ask us girls if he could have our tights when we finished with them... he used to cut them down and wear them under his shorts to keep warm in the English winter. He was not an a hole in any sense of the word... except when he made us swim in the outside school pool when to my mind it wasn't even hot enough for a bath!

      Jo in Auckland, NZ

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  18. I was always last in school games and playing with friends at home. They always said I was too tiny, too short, and I was a girl :-(

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  19. Kids can be cruel, specially in games (sports). I didn't have to worry about being picked due to always being a head taller than most in grade school and my agility of running but I lived the shame from a close friend that was always picked last. It wasn't until they realized he may not be able to run the ball but he could block like crazy did it change.

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    1. By having a friend how for whatever reason was unpopular was the best thing you could have done anyway......i wrote a blog about something similar a few months ago

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  20. I was always last. I was "that girl from California" in a school in North Carolina. No tolerance or interest was shown towards me , I know sort of how other people feel , being different.
    But thankfully those days are over. I showed them ... in various ways over the years and look back on chool and the teachers and just wish I had been as savvy then as I am today when it comes to people.
    <the skinny little girl with a funny accent and crooked teeth grew up and you can see her now in various advertisements and packages lol Yes, that is me in the jewelry store ad, what ? you don't recognise my ear ???

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  21. When it came to picking teams for sports, I was always chosen third last. There were 2 kids who were even more hopeless at sports than me, the poor bastards. But when it came to picking teams for brains-based activities like spelling bees, I was always chosen first. They'd fight over who got me on their team, the bastards! LOL

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  22. I hated games of all kinds! Would always 'wag' games if I could. Our games teachers even had us "country dancing" where you had to pick partners! Don't even mention the group showers, lining up naked at 13 onwards with the PE teachers watching! Terrifying.

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  23. I'll bet Bill Gates was picked last in gym class. Childhood is hard, but thankfully, we outgrow it.

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  24. I was very thin and not well coordinated so was one of the last chosen. I hated phys. ed. and would have always preferred the library.
    My worst fear was having to play dodge ball. That male coach was a bully , a real nightmare. Adding to all this were the ugliest gym outfits ever! Royal blue with bloomer style pants.
    The humiliation stays with you forever.

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  25. oh yeah, that was me. not last but second or third (on a good day) to last. shy, skinny, and not popular.

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  26. I was always picked last for baseball...I can't begin to understand why unless it's my usual response to the order to RUN..."which way?". You think that was it?

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  27. I too was usually one of the last to be picked. I didn't then and I don't now have a single sporting bone in my body. I used to sneek off to the loos and sit out the games/PE session with my other equally non sporting friends. I think it was an utterly humilating way to treat kids and hope to heaven that it no longer is the practice.

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  28. I too was always picked last, or next to! My friend Sue and I took the honours for last place on alternate sports lessons!
    Then we started playing netball, and suddenly my height, skinny frame and spot on aiming made me a deadly goal shooter......within three weeks I was the school netball team captain, eclipsing all those who had many times left me standing on the sidelines. I refused to pick teams though, and told the sports mistress it was her job, I certainly wasn't ever going to make anyone feel useless!
    I was also exceptionally good at trampolining, until my natural attributes started giving me black eyes every time I jumped!!!
    Hope Winnie's doing well! X

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    1. LOL, too much bounce ?

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    2. WAY too much bounce! I've never dared run to catch a bus, I'd do myself a serious injury!

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  29. As an Elementary school teacher I had a system to help the pain of the non-athletic kids. I had a jar of tongue depressors. Each kid had his/her name on one and a random drawing divided the teams. The first 2 were the captains who drew sticks in turn and it was surprising how many times the "weak" teams won! Anyone who groaned at the choice was score keeper for the day. So there bullies!

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  30. Jan B, I love your way of choosing teams!! I was always picked last in games, too..I just wasn't into sports. My sister's kids completely bypassed PE by a note from my sister saying they got a certain amount of physical activity (lie) so there is a way out nowadays. I also used to forge my mom's name on a note to get out of PE when we ran the mile (ugh, in Florida...too hot!).

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  31. I went to a very small high school so I got to be on the teams. I wasn't very good, but I was a body and I was bursting with enthusiasm. My last year I was awarded Best Sportsmanship or something while my best friend received the equivalent of Best Athlete. I was always in the backfield or goalie, but I was there. In my previous schools I was one of the fat kids at the end. I loved sports, just wasn't very fast and couldn't see fast enough to see a small object. I was lucky, in many ways, to have been transferred to my small school.

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  32. I don't remember being all that upset when I was among the last chosen. I figured somebody had to be last, and I was short, uncoordinated, wore thick glasses and didn't care about winning. Besides, when they were giving out academic awards, I was always in the top five. (Take that, you neanderthals!) I'm thinking maybe sports figures more significantly in a male's life than a female's, in many cases - or at least back in our childhood.

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  33. Being picked last or near the last isn't a fond memory is it? My Mom put me in a Christian School 30 miles from home. She drove 2 rounds trips daily. I had a few friends but I was never a great athlete. I hated being bullied. Thank goodness Mamma let me go to a public high school. I fitted in there. Funny how the memories that resurface the most are traumatic? Gabby

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  34. Not picked first or last - it all depended on who the 'Captain' was ...

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  35. This is the first time that I am commenting before even reading any of the other comments because this is such a recognisable subject to me. I was always picked last or next to last. I was a petite and skinny kid with no aptitude or liking for sport. Hopeless at it and made worse by being picked last, put where I could do least harm and bullied when no one was looking. It put me right off sport for life. I too hope it has changed now. I am fit and healthy, back at school I loved cross country running (could be out on my own) and have always swam and walked loads but have been totally put off other sport through my school day experiences. I still remember that humiliation and dread.

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    1. Carol, I could have written that almost word for word. I loved cross country running and would have happily done that every week.

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  36. I also hope schools don't use this as standard practice, although I'm sure there are still some that do. I was usually not picked last (although often close to it). I used to pray to be odd man out and not have to participate with the macho kids at all.

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  37. My uncordinated unpopular self was always picked last or close to it. And where games are concerned if winning is everything they were right.

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  38. I don't think I cared, the memory is very vague. I loved traditional non competitive games like jump rope and jacks, and one year a kind teacher taught us to knit instead of making us play the dreaded and painful dodgeball. In high school I loved field hockey and softball, so I am guessing I got more coordinated. Really don t much recall, thank goodness. Worst were non team games like tumbling, rope climbing, trampoline: I was terrified.

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  39. I was invariably picked last for teams, but I didn't really care as I had no interest in the games anyway and didn't see being picked as any kind of honour or accolade. In fact I always hoped I wouldn't be picked at all and I could just slope off somewhere and read a book.

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  40. A great cross section of replies hereloved them all

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  41. Gym class, oh, my gawd!

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