Monday, 20 August 2012

No Way to Egg Someone On

All this Olympic stuff over the past few weeks has been reminding me of a traumatic Incident from my childhood...

It needs the capital letter, by the way.  It's not just your common-or-garden incident, it's an Incident.  It was highly traumatising, and had a major effect on the course of my life.  As a result, it lives in infamy in my family, and is known as The Great Egg and Spoon Race Debacle.

Picture the scene: I'm about 5 or 6 years old, and it's Sports Day at school.  Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the most athletic of people, and that was true back then as well.  I mean, I was pushing 2 before I even bothered walking, so running was clearly never going to be my thing.  What I am, on the other hand, is extremely competitive (just ask my husband sometime about The Puzzle Bobble Incident.  It's not enough of a story to warrant telling here...) and so I very much wanted to win something at Sports Day.  Thus it was that I came to fix my attentions upon the Egg and Spoon Race.

The thing with Egg and Spoon races is that it's not about speed.  Usain Bolt may have gold medals galore, but he'd drop his egg as soon as he left the blocks, and every second spent picking up your egg and putting it back on your spoon is a second wasted.  Far better to ease back a little and keep it on that spoon all the way to the finish.

And so in the run-up to Sports Day I practised my Egg and Spooning.  I practised the hell out of it.  Up and down the garden I went, with a spoon from the kitchen drawer and a golf ball from... actually, I don't know where the golf ball came from.  We had one or two knocking about, but it's not like any of us played golf.  Unless you count the occasional game of mini-golf with twirly ramps and windmills and stuff.  That's proper golf.  I'd like to see Tiger Woods get his ball through the windmill first time.  But I digress.

Up and down the garden I went, with a spoon and a golf ball, working out exactly how fast I could go without dropping the ball off the spoon, honing the steadiness of my hand (which has served me well ever since, as anyone who's ever seen one of my beermat pyramids will attest).  By the time Sports Day came around I had it down to a fine art, and I was confident of success.

I stood at the starting line, my Egg and Spoon in hand, the other girls in my class lined up alongside me.  I was focused, I was confident, I was ready to go.  And when the whistle blew, I set off at my steady pace.  Some girls started faster than I did, but they dropped their eggs and had to retrieve them, and so I passed them.  I took the lead, the egg staying firmly on my spoon, exactly as I had practised, and when I crossed the finish line I looked across to see my competitors trailing in behind me.  Victory was mine.

Except it wasn't.

The boys who were charged with watching the line and awarding positions (either the oldest kids at the school or some shipped in from the local secondary, my memory is hazy on this point) weren't paying attention.  Maybe they hadn't expected anyone to finish quite as quickly as I had.  Maybe they just got distracted.  For whatever reason, they awarded first place to the girl who came in second.  And I know she came in second because I saw her cross the line after I did.  But there was still a prize for me, right?


Second place went to the girl who came third.  Third place to the girl who came fourth.  And they don't bother giving out prizes below that.  I got nothing.  Zip. Nada.  Diddly squat.

At the age of 5 or 6, I was far too quiet and shy to make an audible fuss about this.  Instead of demanding the prize that was mine by right I simply accepted it, though I believe I sulked lavishly to myself.  You'd never catch me doing that these days, but I was only little at the time.  And of course, having lost out that time I'm determined never to let it happen again.

I like to claim that this Incident killed my interest in competitive sport stone dead, but I'm not sure that's really the case.  Like I said, I was never terribly athletic.  I also come from a family that tends to sneer at physical accomplishments, considering them vastly inferior to intellectual achievements, though that's probably just because we're all a bit rubbish at sport.  Still, I never won another Egg and Spoon Race in my life.  And I never practised in advance for any sporting competition after that either.  I settled for being the best at spelling tests and maths exams instead.

My daughter starts school in a couple of weeks, and no doubt next summer she'll have her own Sports Day. I'll be training her for the Egg and Spoon Race, of course, and when the day comes I'll be sitting in the crowd, watching the finish line like a hawk...

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Oh lordy, I just made a blog...

I'm not really sure why.  It just seemed like the thing to do.  Maybe it's because I'm about to start looking for jobs again (I have a job right now, I'd just like one that pays more money...).  Maybe it's because I'm preparing to write not one but two novels this November, both paranormal romances with horrifying sex scenes thrown in for good measure.  Maybe I'm just crazy.

There's a distinct possibility that I'll never think of anything more to write here.  Or at least not beyond the first week or so.  I guess there's only one way to find out though, so stay tuned...