Sport…knowing your limits

Today I was reminiscing with my Mum about my first experiences of sport.

“I remember when you were five years old and you were running in a race at Primary School. Dad and I couldn’t believe it – the race started and you went like a rocket – instantly in the lead. As you whizzed past us on the track, we shouted out: ‘Alicia, Alicia, go on Alicia,’ and then you stopped.”
“I stopped?”
“Yes. It was very sweet, but you stopped and just stood there waving and smiling because you’d seen us…”
“Oh…”
“…And then you came last.”

After hearing about this embarrassing and frankly pathetic sporting incident– I began to wonder if this was the moment my sporting prowess embarked on its rapid spiral of decline. At least the ‘rocket-like’ potential was there at one point.
For some reason, the thought of participating in competitive sports has always put me on edge – perhaps it’s because I subconsciously worry that I might be distracted to ‘stop and wave’ if any of my friends come to watch.

As well as this, it seems I have another problem – acting calm in the presence of sporting legends. My Mum was quick to inform me of another embarrassing childhood incident…
When I was three years old, my family bumped into Frank Bruno and after signing autographs, my Mum thought it would be a good idea to have a photo of him holding me – it wasn’t. As soon as he picked me up, I burst into tears and started screaming: “He’s scary, he’s ugly, I don’t like him! Make him put me downnnn…” Then I cried hysterically until he put me down – how horrifically embarrassing is that (probably for my parents more than me). Apparently he was very sweet about it though and reacted with his signature chuckle – which consequently scared me even more and I took shelter under my Mum’s skirt!

Since my childhood cringes, I’m proud to say that I’ve successfully managed to avoid any other sporting embarrassments for almost two decades (wow – that makes me feel old), however recently, when feeling a bit daring, I tried something ‘new’ that I will never forget.
At the age of twenty-four, I decided it was time I had my first skiing lesson. Admittedly, I was nervous. The closest I’d come to snow sports was slipping over on the ice in ASDA car park whilst trying to synchronize car opening with grocery carrying.
So, on Monday 1st February 2010, in Mittenwald, Germany – I put all my fears behind me and went for it. (‘Went for it’ is the only appropriate way to describe what happened).
It was only after a mere 40 minutes on the beginner’s slopes, that Christian, my alcoholic instructor (who stank of beer from the night before, may I add) said I was “ready girl” for “big slops.”
Of course I questioned him, in fact I begged him to let me stay with Walter the Walrus and the other friendly characters of the beginner slopes. But he was already on the move…and soon we were at the top.
“I don’t get it, I don’t feel confident….how do I…”
“You go now…”
That was it…with a little push, I went, and after one turn, I didn’t stop. I could picture the headlines already… ‘FIRST TIME SKIER SUFFERS RECORD FRACTURES AFTER 100MPH HELL RIDE.’
All I could see in front of me were piles of skis, a big dip, a road, cars and a particularly good looking guy at the bottom…

“Please God, let me pull this one off and look cool…”
THUMP! It was all over in sixty seconds. I crashed straight into the pile of skis…and a sledge – legs akimbo and unable to get up. In fact, I struggled for a good forty seconds like a pathetic woodlouse – I think it’s fair to say that all sex appeal was lost that day.

So, with the fantastic news that Team GB will be using Loughborough University as their headquarters to train for London 2012 – I think it’s safe to say I’ll be around to catch a glimpse, however I definitely won’t be offering any coaching skills.

© 2010 Alicia Drewnicki

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