Yesterday I popped down to Nottingham to visit with a dear old friend of more than 30 years. As usual we reminisced. Seems to be in the air.
The last few posts have shown me to be in a reflective mood and as today is my birthday, the mood continues. Mind you, given the atrocious weather today, it's not a bad idea to be wallowing in nostalgia. It rained heavily for 18 hours and still may return before tomorrow.
Well it's the first day of Wimbledon, so what can we expect !
I like watching tennis. Ok I like watching most sports even though I don't play any on a regular basis. I've never been a Sporty Spice and having been a glasses wearer since my early teens, I was a bit of a non starter when it came to school contact games. I wouldn't have minded soccer but my school insisted we play Gaelic Football and Hurling and given that both involved plenty of 'contact' and very little 'sport' I hated them both. Hurling can be especially hazardous as it combines a hard ball, a stick/bat called 'a hurl' ' to scoop this ball up and smack it to another team member or towards the goal and 15 opposition players trying their damnest to stop you doing both. Take this quote from the rules of hurling...........
Side to side shouldering is allowed although body-checking or shoulder-charging is illegal. No protective padding is worn by players, and although a plastic protective helmet with faceguard is recommended, this is not mandatory for players over 21.
Protective helmets !! No such mamby pamby safety gear in my day. The only protection we had were our skulls and young, still developing bones, were regularly bashed and generally subjected to all sorts of legal and illegal strikes. Of course we'd all been hardened by the legal and illegal moves made on us by the priests/teachers but that's another story. Your honour.
We also had handball. Now that's not the game most people think of when the name is mentioned and for all I know, it was unique to our school ! We had 3 or 4 handball courts which looked a bit like outdoor roofless squash courts. Like squash you hit the small ball at the serving wall in front of you and assuming it was above a service line on this wall, the ball was in play and could be smacked back to the wall making use of any of the other walls on the way.
The HUGE difference between it and squash was that no racket was involved - you used the palm of your hand to propel the ball and yes, it could really hurt. You could always spot good players who played a lot as they were the ones with hands like baseball mitts/wicket keeper gloves and you tried to avoid shaking hands with them.
But it was a (mostly) non contact sport so was on my short list of games I liked to play.
When I left school, I never saw or even heard of it again. Maybe I made it up. I made up a lot of things at school. I was a kid. It was my job. As Mark Twain said, I never let schooling interfere with my education.
In later life I took up golf. Another game where you hit a small ball. I've never played often enough to get very good at it but I still like it. Most of the time it may be a good walk spoiled (supposedly Mr. Twain again) but if nothing else, I get the walk as a bonus.
But back to today. Do I feel older ? Hell yes. The golf swing causes me to ache the next day. A long walk causes me to ache the next day. Eating an Indian or Chinese meal makes me ache the next day.
I'm going to skip tomorrow and go straight to Wednesday.