OLYMPICS A’LA YESTERDAY
When the school sports term came around few contestants sat around. Those that did wished it would just go away despite the fanfare and the certificates. It was a term for suffering and pain.
The scholars were divided into 3 teams: Pelicans, Flamingo’s and penguins and there was no chance in hell to change to one of the other teams. Teachers were also cemented into a team and remained there to their full tenure as a teacher. This meant that the same team lost every year while another team won throughout its history. Well, rather easy to predict the future.
The field items were pure hell and originated amongst the cave-men: The most hated item was the high jump. On the face of it, it appears like just another high jump site with the cross-bar which was a flimsy quarter-round supplied, gratis, by the local carpenter shop. The landing site was, if I may, the death knell for any respectable high-jumper: A hole corresponding to the dimensions of the cross-bar; About 6ft x6ft and about 600mm deep. This lot was filled with sawdust obtained from the schools woodwork Shoppe. After the jump and coming in to land was the problem. Because high-jumpers tend to land on their backs and , in this case, may come out winded. The sawdust had to be raked back into the hole after every jump.
The pole-vault event was even worse: The layout was similar to the high-jump but larger. The vaulting pole was a heavy aluminium contraption that weighed a tonne and totally rigid making for a sever shock on inserting it into the receptacle on a jump The jumper was forced to remain upright on his fall due to the sparse conditions in the landing pit.. Exhaustion was usually due to toting the pole down the runway. In my day the maximum height, with the given equipment, was seldom above the 13ft mark.
Putting-the-shot was an arc in white lime and a circle from which to throw a steel ball as far as possible. Not very popular due to the hard work involved.
The javelin was almost my nemesis: I was singled out to mark the spot where the javelin lands with a small flag. Then return the javelin to the contestants. Rather boring I say! The order, to the ladies throwing this spear around, was to wait until the field is clear before throwing it. While collecting a javelin some bright lady sought to take her chances and perhaps assassinate me in the process. While collecting a javelin I heard a screaming and hollering but took little notice and on looking up saw this javelin on its way to me. Fortunately the mind switches off and the body freezes. I did manage a step or two forward and arched my back instinctively. The flying javelin grazed past my back. The lady was disqualified
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