Thursday, 19 January 2017
#52Stories, Week 3, What is your earliest memory of feeling proud of yourself - at school, in sport or...?
This one is hard too. I’ve been procrastinating because I didn’t want to do another goal oriented post. I already told you I’m not goal oriented.
So I chose this topic from the list – I was never really sporty, I don’t think I am competitive like that. I took part but it didn’t matter if I came first (at either end of the race) or finished in the middle. I played netball a bit at primary school but I was short, so the teachers always made me play Wing Attack or Wing Defence and I really wanted to be in goal. (That came later, when I was at college I was a bit taller and I played Goal Defence or Goal Keep, sometimes even Goal Attack)
I was pretty good at swinging myself on the swing my Dad had put up in the lean-to from when I was quite little. I remember being a bit smug that I could get on and off, swing myself and jump off to miss the mud puddle underneath it – and my little brother couldn’t – does that count ?
When I was about 9 or 10 I seem to have suddenly got involved in everything. My last year at primary school I was in so many school photos; choir, netball, gym club, librarian, stationery monitor, prefects – add to this piano, Brownies, more gym and skating outside of school. I must have been running Mum and Dad ragged with all of these activities to get to.
I got a pair of roller skates for my birthday. We didn’t have a lot of concrete to practice on; just one path from the front door to the driveway. Our driveway was gravel and the footpath was dirt, so no skating on them. There was a skating rink down by the lake in Hamilton, close to the huge slide. We used to go there and somehow became members of the club. I don’t know how this stuff happens. Parents get talking and nek minnit ! Anyway, I got involved with figure skating. This meant I needed new skates with white boots and a big rubber stopper. I remember going shopping for them one Friday night. My teacher/coach was also a teacher at school. I practiced going backwards and turning, and forwards, and gliding; propelling myself without taking a foot off the ground and pushing. Good for the muscles that ! I had to practice figure eights, gliding around each circle on one leg and only pushing off once at the intersection of the two circles. I didn’t enjoy that so much. Then I began to learn dances and dance steps. I don’t remember ever seeing anyone do this before. It was like ice-dance I guess, like Torvill & Dean, but way before any of us knew who they were, and not quite as fluid and graceful as it is on ice. I learnt some jumps, and little dance steps, and how to glide in Eagle position with one foot facing left and the other right. I arabesque-ed at speed. We went to competitions at weekends, clubs against clubs. I figure skated and my brother was in the speed skating team. I had to have the right dresses too – not just the boot skates. My favourite was a red dress my Nana knitted for me with white pompoms all around the hem. I don’t remember that I ever won anything, but it was a lot of fun. When I was thinking about writing this I did a bit of research (as you do) and I discovered that one of the jumps I learnt was a Salchow – not a Sour-Cow as I have always thought it was. Who knew !! If you want to see some old school roller skate dancing (not mine) – check this out.
Around the same time I started doing gymnastics. I think I had a friend who went, or Mum and Dad knew someone who ran the club. It was on Saturday mornings at Boys’ High. You got to do exercises, tumbling, vaulting, beam, parallel bars and horizontal bar. I loved it. This gym led me to start doing it at school as well in the last years of primary school and then Intermediate. At Intermediate I was in the school team, there were inter-school competitions. Olga Korbut was who we all wanted to be like. She had won GOLD at the Olympics in Munich on beam and floor. I used to practice my beam routine on the top of the block walls of the garage dad was building at home. Cartwheels and forward rolls etc 8 feet up – on concrete. What was I thinking ? We did floor exercises too, like the Olympics. It was called rhythmic gymnastics but we hadn’t got as diverse as ribbon and ball exercises just yet. I remember choreographing my own voluntary (as opposed to compulsory) floor routine to “Burning Bridges” by the Mike Curb Congregation (no MTV or music videos back then !) I was pretty pleased with it in the end. There were badges to earn too, I don’t remember if we ever won anything in our gym competitions either. I earnt my Iron and Bronze badges and was well on my way to my Silver when we moved to Wellington. All the extra curricular, and school based activities stopped then. I did join the gym club at school, but it wasn’t the same.
As for which I felt most proud, or which came first, I’m not sure. I know I was proud of my floor routine and of achieving my badges in gymnastics. But I was also pretty proud when I nailed one of those jumps on skates. I’m declaring them a tie – it’s the sporting thing to do.