I haven’t always been the finely tuned athletics machine you see now

In Primary School, the teachers forced us to run an entire lap of the oval every morning.

Those  bitter winter winds would ice my throat and make my heart ache within my chest with every breath I took. I sincerely believed this to be a human rights violation and in retaliation, refused to voluntarily engage in any events at our annual athletics carnival (or, ever).

Each year, I would try to convince my mother that I was too sick to attend the carnival. When that failed I would fall back on the skills that come naturally to kids with poor self-esteem, allowing me to blend into the background and go unnoticed by those bullying teachers who delighted in making the fat, nerdy or uncoordinated kids try to do high jump.

Most years, I successfully dodged those teachers and only participated in the mandatory events like Leap Frog and Tug-o-War.

Until grade 4.

In grade 4 I developed a crush on Mister Fakename and decided that the only way to impress him was to enter an actual race.

Are you grimacing yet? Are you anticipating the fact that reality did not at all reflect that vision I’d had of me streaking across the line,  minutes ahead of the fastest girl in the school, winning not only the love of my crush, but of the entire world?

Well, it actually gets more humiliating than you’ve imagined because not only did I think it would be an excellent idea to enter a race, I also thought it would be an excellent idea to do it the way the serious runners do  – barefoot in your t shirt and undies.

There I was, lined up with girls whose legs were longer than I was tall, wearing my red sports shirt and my navy blue sports undies, a deceptive picture of grace and athleticism. Our naked toes pressed against the painted grass of the starting line, we dropped into a lunge and waited for the starter’s gun to go off.

It did.

We ran.

And six steps into the race, I tripped on my own feet and commando rolled to the edge of the track to avoid being trampled – The one consolation to my complete humiliation is that when I fell, I wasn’t coming last.

Thankfully, Mister Fakename did not witness this as he was busy with his own event and we did eventually become Primary School Boyfriend and Girlfriend, which means we never even spoke to or acknowledged each other, except to blush furiously when our friends pushed us together.

The romance was short-lived and probably forgotten completely by Mr Fakename, until I ran into him at the pub earlier this year on the same night that I was filmed “rapping” in the beer garden.

I bet he totally regrets breaking up with me now.


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