I declare straight from the off here that sporting prowess has eluded me in this current incarnation, whilst my contemporaries at school would eagerly await the two period “Sports” lesson on the school calendar every week I would stare at the word and think, “oh bugger, not sport again, how soon it comes around each week”, for I was rubbish at any sport that I tried, and I tried them all, well you had to at Leeds Modern School under threat of death by Sinbad Simpsons glare.
But having been crap at Sports at school is seemingly no excuse for being crap at Sports in adulthood for I know of several associates who claim to have been crap at Sports at school but who now do the “Jogging” thing, join organised clubs, enter 10K then half marathon, then even marathons and everything, its a mental illness apparently and you can be treated for it on the NHS with aversion therapy and ultimately the electric shock treatment so beloved of the Mental Institutions of the past for it is generally perceived in society today that running around the streets in a vest and your underpants is never a good look really and is to be avoided if at all possible.
Chris Kirkbride is a prime example, he won’t mind me mentioning this here and if he does then its just tough titty because I’ve already told you his name, ok just for legal reasons we’ll call him Brian, just so that he doesn’t do THE SUE.
Brian was like me at school, he was crap at Sports, like me he never made the class football team let alone the school football team and in a class of 30 boys you have an almost 50/50 chance of at least making the bench in the class team, but for us we may as well have tried to fly to the moon for the game of football and its machinations, like passing the ball for instance, or tackling without up-ending the tackl-ee, was beyond our comprehension as indeed was the very need for the game at all for when you care less than one jot for who scores most goals then what is left – nothing, thats what.
It was also played during the autumn term too and into November and December it can get a bit nippy and a bit wet around these parts which makes the prospect of standing around on a muddy field with your hands tucked up inside your sleeves and your arms clenched around your chest in a “I’m fooking freezing, me” stylee, all the more miserable for those kids who take no enjoyment from Sport – the final ignominy being that when the teams were picked all of the good players were picked for the other side and all of the ones who didn’t want to be here were on the other – score of 50-0 were commonplace and still we never cared although it always seemed important to the other team.
Anyhoo, where were we, ah yes Chris Kirkbr… I mean Brian, Brian like me was crap at the Sport stuff and then one day we were sixteen and we left school and never saw each other again, and then one other day someone invented Facebook and forty-odd years after last seeing each other we were re-introduced (is this getting a bit Mills & Boone) and nothing much has changed, we both have much less hair but the biggest change in “Brian” is that, wait for it, he runs the streets in his vest and underpants, for fun and relaxation.
And I know other people who have gone the same way, Rob-Up-The-Street for instance, you remember Rob-Up-The-Street don’t you, yes you do, well anyway he isn’t Rob-Up-The-Street anymore as he’s moved, so he is now Rob-In-A-Big-House-In-Skipton, he runs for fun and profit too, in fact he ran all the way across Europe this summer to raise money for a charity that stops refugees having to run across Europe seeking sanctuary, which is ironic but not the point, for he ran all the way across Europe in his vest and underpants and never got arrested for indecency not even once.
I just don’t understand the fervor with which these people take to the public streets so willingly and so often that it becomes a way of life to them, the day never dawns without you taking to the streets with barely a stitch on and appearing to all and sundry as if you’re the next stride away from a heart attack and your demise before the ambulance can arrive – in my travels to and from Birmingham this summer I have been departing my home (in my car of course) at 5am most Monday mornings and on every occasion for the past five months I have passed a bloke who is older than me running UP the big hill that leads to where I live, clad only in vest and underpants, bright red in the face and gasping for oxygen AT FIVE IN THE MORNING, what sort of mental turmoil would you have to be going through to think that arising from your bed at 5am and running up a fekkin big hill in your underwear was probably the best idea you’ll have all day ?
Another example – Tank – Tank is our Neds best mate, have been mates all their lives, but Tank is tall and lank and has never looked to be fully nourished for the whole of his life, if he weighs ten stone then I’m a Dutchman – well Tank goes running too, but when Tank takes his narrow frame out running he always looks knackered even when he’s just locked his front door and has trotted the first few strides to his garden gate, if I were Tank then my running session would end at the garden gate, knackered, but Tank runs and runs and runs and when Tank runs people stop their cars and ask him if he is alright, for he does not look alright, in fact when Tank runs he always looks as though the next step will definitely be his last on this earth and he is now beyond an oxygen mask and an adrenaline shot to the heart.
However there is always the lingering hope that one day, clad in grey flannel tracksuit with the hoodie top securely tucked into the pants which are in turn pulled right up to the ribcage in a manner that suggests that your mum dressed you like a little boy that morning, I will take to the streets and this is what they will sing…
Although to be perfectly honest it will be more like this…