Saturday, 3 May 2014

Picked Last For Games


This may surprise many of you, but it was not always the fine figure of a man that stands before you now. oh no.
In school, I was clumsy, uncoordinated and unsporty.
I was average in biology, Welsh, history and at art
Poor at woodwork
And abysmal at physics.
I liked English.
But like I said,
I was shite at all sports.
Suffice to say, I was always left standing against the wall when teams were picked for games.
I was never the very last to be picked , but more often than not, only "hunchback Alan " and "obese Dicko" were waiting to be chosen after a team leader had  reluctantly picked me.

This ritual of " being picked for games" was humiliating and always difficult for a shy eleven year old to cope with . I doubt that it would be allowed now.
Did the experience follow me into adult life?
Well, I think it did......just a little.........
I have never loved team activities since
I always shy away from any situation that could possibly embarrass me in any way

And do you know what....? I cannot abide soddin football.

52 comments:

  1. Could not agree more! I was hopeless, still can't throw a ball, I aim one way and it flies off in completely the opposite direction. As for trying to hit one, well don't even go there. I could go on and on. On the other hand I read any number of books, cook quite well,sew a passable quilt (to use, not for exibition) and enjoy walking. With all the things you do as well chasing a ball around a field is a complete waste of time.

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  2. Look on the bright side.. You are neither obese or hunchback!.. I was the fat, four eyed, asthmatic at school and was always chosen to fill the hockey goal "sigh." I too cannot abide football, the game the players nor the fans of.

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  3. I would never refer to myself as 'sporty', but I did play Rugby, Cricket, and Fives; plus I rowed 8's at Henley, The Cambridge Bumps, and The Serpentine. Hmmmm, perhaps I was 'sporty' after all.

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  4. I'm like you John. I HATE sport! I can't bear watching it, playing it or hearing about it. Not being chosen has followed me into adult life and when I volunteer at the vineyard we are asked to pair up with someone and I am always left out or have to make up a threesome!!!

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  5. p.s Happy Birthday to Chris!

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    1. Thanks simone
      Will post a few pics of his birthday later today or tomorrow

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  6. Sounds like the story of my life!

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  7. being disabled enough to be shite at everything but not enough to be excused from sport, i was always picked dead last. i found a lot of tricks to make sport less humiliating though and i can only imagine how it must feel to have issues with learning and suffer that every single day in a classroom

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  8. I remember the one time I got called up as a team captain for softball by the teacher, and was told to pick a team. Having been generally the last person standing when teams were being picked, I upset the entire class by going in exactly the reverse order. Everyone who usually got picked last, got picked first. The sporty kids got picked dead last.... on reflection, I guess this is probably one of the reasons I got bullied so much in school.

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    1. Kristine, that was a lovely thing to do and you were brave to do it. Well done!

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  9. At last - something we have in common.

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  10. I could have written this post...I wasn't the last picked I was the only one left....so I was score keeper....I didn't care I hated it all...the team thing..I just wanted everyone to leave me alone!!
    Happy Birthday Chris!

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  11. Dear John,
    I think that roles might reverse later in life: see - now you are the "cock of the walk" (I am foreign - I found that idiom in a dictionary - I hope it is right...feels strange...) meaning: you have your admirers now. Most people don't want to be eleven again, sporty or not.

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    1. Your partly correct, Britta. He is a cock.

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    2. Tom Stephenson…don't be so horrid!!

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  12. Our daughter looked just like one of those St. Trinian's girls when she was that age ……. sometimes they had to dress up as a film or book character and she was a St. Trinian's pupil ….. I loved it. { at 32 now, she won't be pleased that I've told you !! }
    ….. and, I was REALLY good at sports …. I was in the netball, rounders and swimming teams, was Champion girl, which involved various disciplines { oo er missus !! } won the high jump and did a lot of running !! ….. I don't do anything now !! But ….. I don't remember ever doing the ' picking teams ' thing. I was a nice girl, I was. XXXX

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  13. I forgot they used to do that, I bet they're not allowed to do it now as well. They used to do sitting boy girl boy girl thing if we were being punished and would make us choose a boy to sit next to..........it would take a week to explain your choice!!

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  14. Nowadays schools are going away form this practice for the very reasons that you state. It always results in someone being picked last and that really damages a child's self-esteem. And it has long-lasting effects, as you alluded to with yourself. I always remember feeling so bad for the people who were picked last because it was always the same people every time.

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  15. I have always thought names should be drawn from a hat at school and let the chips fall where they may. I've sat in the stands and watched when my kids were in school and it is heart breaking. I have always said that I have never seen the sporty kids go on to be professionals in the sport very much the opposite. My grandkids were never sporty but one granddaughter is in the top 10% of her class in high school and plays the violin like a dream....she will graduate in 2 weeks and has been accepted to KU....My grandson has won a #1 place in piano competitions across the state...is in his 3rd year at KU and getting ready for pre med....He could run and did cross country running but no ball player....However I do remember not being good at these things and standing back or not going out for dance or cheerleading as my parents couldn't afford the costs. Damn I hate it when kids are hurt.

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  16. know the feeling well; could not do sports, science, math. excelled in languages, history, geography, spelling. I wish they had online school back then like they do now.

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  17. We 'not good at sports' folk all turned out mostly ok John don't you think? and Happy Birthday Chris......x

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  18. I still find it massively unfair that childhood - such a small percentage of time in years - has such a huge effect on the rest of our life.

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  19. i was allways told you not as good as your sister she was sporty, not me i hated the sport side of shool as i had two left feed and i do not like any sport now say happy birthday to chris

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  20. I was always picked first.

    It's been a slow downward spiral ever since then...

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  21. I was always picked last as well. Never liked team sports or any sports for that matter. and as for football I've only ever watched one game and thats because I was forced to.
    Thanks for your comments on my blog, food for thought (or should that be fox)

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  22. I'm with you too on the roster John. I've always felt that was a barbaric way to get children to play team sports. Very Lord of the Flies. Basic laziness on the teachers part as well; although perhaps it was some misguided attempt to establish team loyalty...clearly it breaks down at the end of the line. Cheer up! Those days are over and I'd pick you first to be on my team. :) Best wishes to the birthday boy.

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  23. Imagine being a little black child in a sea of whites. His name was Harry Wheeler. i was among the last picked; he was dead last. When we played circle games and hand to hold hands I stood next to him and held his hand. There always was a break in the circle on his other side, and the teacher did nothing about it. And we were only five years old.

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    1. You are a sweetie Joanne.

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    2. Yes special mention to your post
      It moved me almost to tears x

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  24. I hate frigging sports.
    Jane x

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  25. Is that why I am not a team player? I would do anything to avoid team sports at school. Argh, that ball coming towards me will hurt me if it hits me. I will run away from it. I was seldom selected for team sports, which suited me just fine.

    What an upsetting comment from Joanne.

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  26. I LOVED sports! And thought I was good at them until I tried out for 'little league baseball' when I was 11 or 12. Didn't make the team! Was humiliated and never tried our for team sports again. I went to 'individual sports instead like swimming, bowling, cycling. All my four brothers 'made the team'....hm-m-m-m.

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  27. luckily you do not need a team activity to embarrass yourself... you are quite capable to do that all by yourself, plus entertain us with it!
    It does shed some light on your reluctance to go on this 'plus one' trip to Norway though... Have you got a plan on how to cope? And a plan B?
    love
    Els

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  28. I have a completely different outlook on this. Back when I was in school, it wasn't strictly academic. We all played team sports and games, we did music, we did art. A child who might be an utter failure at one thing, could excel at something else. Now, in California schools, one can only aim for academic success, there are no organized sports, often little art and music only after school for those who can afford it. That leaves 70% of the class with no way to excel. My son went to a Waldorf school for half of his elementary years. They provide lots of ways for kids to be the best in something. Maybe you get chosen last for a soccer game, but you're the best at something else. And each person is celebrated when he makes an achievement. All you have to do is tweak things a little to get away from those negative aspects. Turning every student into the same little drone so no one's feelings get hurt is the wrong way to go.

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  29. This happened to me all the time in PE - always last to be picked and I was useless at sports. This nonsense still goes on in PE. My 15 year old son has been through the same and it should be totally banned. Recently, a PE teacher put him as the only boy in the girls' football team. The following week my son told the PE teacher that he wanted to be in the boys' football team and he agreed. If he hadn't, I was going to do something about it but I was pleased that my son stood up for himself. I absolutely hated my PE teacher - she made my life an utter misery for 5 years. I would try so hard I would sometimes vomit at the end of a lesson through sheer effort!! Why can't they just recognise that kids try hard. You're either born sporty or you're not, in my opinion, and the emphasis in PE should be on keeping fit and enjoying it so that you can continue to exercise in later life, not be put off it.

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  30. Sorry, was so busy ranting that I forgot to wish Chris a lovely birthday!

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  31. At school I also loathed sports and P.E. with a passion. However in all my years there, in football I did manage to score one goal. Impressive, eh? The fact that it was an own goal is neither here nor there.

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  32. I was brought up by a dysfunctional mother. She taught me not to bother about things like this so. So I didn't.

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  33. Me too. I was always picked last or close to last, mainly because everyone knew I had no interest whatever in sport or team games. Humiliating indeed.

    Just about every sport leaves me cold, except gymnastics if that counts as a sport. I never could understand why some people are so passionate about ball-related activities.

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  34. This could have been me writing John - agree with every word. I think this system of choosing teams still exists in some places where it is of real so called importance to excel at games. This afternoon, when some football teams have been relegated to a lower league, we watched on the news as some grown men in the crowd cried. I find that quite unbelievable.

    If you want an up to date photo of yours truly, click on The Solitary Walker on my side bar. He is my niece#s husband and they visited us last weekend. He took a photo and has published it today.

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  35. Oh snap. And I had never tracked down just why it is that I dislike 'team sports' so much to this day. Thank you for the insight.

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  36. i always got picked early on because i was so tall.

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  37. I went to a girls" grammar school, and the only team game was hockey, I think…don't remember any picking of teams…perhaps it is a more recent thing? ( I am 68 ..feeling 18, apart from the body hurts more! ) John, you have come into your own with all your delightful readers who love you….me included. Hope you will show what you bought Chris for his birthday on your day out in Chester..and Happy Birthday, a bit late Chris… which is the name of my 2nd son, who I had to take to hospital this afternoon as he had broken his hand in a " drunken" fall after a wedding last night! He is 33…..but now can't drive to work !! I might have to take him for some meetings over the next 6 weeks…..what you do for your kids ay!

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  38. I too, was crap at sports. Well, to be precise, normal school sports for girls.

    I could ride a horse (bringing a bolting pony under control at the age of 3), ok at back garden football (though my dad being the worst left back his work's team ever had does call the coaching I had into question) and I was always fairly good at darts.

    Being asthmatic and short didn't exactly help, and an injury to my left eye that wasn't actually spotted until my 20's created a blind spot that blighted any sport requiring use of a racket or bat. Then there was the term they tried us at hockey. Apparently, using the stick to hook an opposing player's leg is NOT a legitimate move. And then there was the bully-off incident, where I whacked the school captain full on the kneecap. Well, in mitigation, I was "bad" side on.

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  39. Oh dear... Apart from jan B and Jimbo
    Everyone more or less seems to be in the same boat as me
    Now, before tom s starts on me..... I haven't got time to reply to everyone tonight.... I have been too busy sorting out birthday boy's birthday's wishes......
    ( stop it!)
    I don't know where today's post came from?..I will post a few " happy" photos of today

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  40. With three brothers, I was pretty good at most sports. But I was the petite girl until 6th grade. Once I beat the hell of three boys, I got chosen early on.

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  41. Also a foundation member of the PLFG club, I too have always detested sport and only enjoyed solitary physical exercise. It was the most terrible blight on one, wasn't it. I mean, noone ever got to pick their reading group or art table like that, PE was the one subject where peer pressure ruled. Ghastly, given the hard time in general members of the PLFG club got. I mean, let's face it, it wasn't just that moment of picking teams, it was everywhere, in and out of the classroom.
    I don't for a second approve of these practices as a way of building character, but I would much rather be the empathetic person I am who cares about people no matter what shape or type or whatever they are, than some perfect entity that got picked first. Although who knows what it was like to be picked first, eh?!

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  42. I had two plaits, glasses like Nana whatsherface and was pint sized. I always got picked near the bottom as well, but, boy was I fast, I jumped higher than the tall kids and could zip in and out of the other girls playing netball, I was a whizz with the hockey stick and could out run most of the girls in the cross country team. My real problem was I could read a book in less than a day (still can) could spell any word given to me and stuck up for those kids that were also picked on, I was bullied most of my school days but I still loved school ..... just hated a lot of people that went there. But I reckon they were just jealous! I was totally shite at maths though. Happy belated birthday Chris hope you enjoyed your day.

    Jo in Auckland, NZ

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