Mon | May 1, 2017

My (vague) connection to Champs

Published:Monday | March 23, 2015 | 3:00 AM
File A Calabar fan (centre) cheers next to a Kingston College supporter during the staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships at the National Stadium.

When I was in high school, the closest I ever got to track and field was during physical education class.

Good old Ardenne tried to give us a little of everything, and while football was clearly my first love, I thought track might not be too bad. I could never hold a cricket bat properly, and didn't have the speed or guile to be a bowler. The basketball just felt too heavy to shoot and my dislike for chlorine made swimming unbearable. Tennis? Felt it was a rich-people sport. Volleyball? Simply, no. Rugby? Didn't like the idea of being tackled in that fashion, legally at that.

So, I figured if I could sprint from class to the cafeteria, I might be a decent sprinter. No hurdles, though, (I ain't jumping over a damn thing). And no long distance either (my stamina was non-existent). High jump? Jumping over something backwards? Hell no! I don't know if I harboured even distant thoughts of representing my school at Boys' Champs (I specify Boys' Champs because Boys and Girls' Champs were two separate events until 1999). But like so many activities, I was too scared to actually try out.

 

sports day

 

As it turns out, it looks like I'm allergic to any distance over about 50 metres. And, alas, that wouldn't have made much sense. One sports day, I decided to represent my school house (go Harrison) in discus, but that didn't go too well. Let's just say there were girls who threw further than I did. Girls younger than I was. Girls who were smaller than I was. Let that sink in for a second. So, the closest I ever got to track and field excellence was to attend Champs. I've only been to Champs twice - the boys one anyway. Haven't been since the merger.

Anyway, while I always enjoyed the atmosphere (the National Stadium is a great place to watch sports, generally), there is no way I'm going back to Champs any time soon. That's because I can't bear to be in the same space with high-schoolers with dyed hair, painted faces and God knows what for outfits, yelling at the top of their lungs like morons. I'm pretty certain half of them don't spend as much time in class as they did in getting ready for Champs. Ask them the school song; don't know it. The school motto? Dem nuh memba. When was the school founded? Okay, now you're just asking too much.

Oral Tracey, in his Tuesday column, chastised women who obviously didn't attend the all-boys schools, but were parading in the colours. I couldn't agree more. And they're the loudest of all the 'supporters'. Screaming until their lungs burst, ready to fight for any hint of criticism against their beloved 'school'. Trust me, I'm much better off watching Champs on television, far, far away from the madding, and maddening crowd.

So here's to a clean, competitive champs and may the best teams win. Just don't look for me at the stadium.

• Tell me who's winning Champs at daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com