Monday, April 18, 2005

Being skilful

Everybody has at least one area of life in which they are quite hopeless, and my area of supreme idiocy is sport. I don’t get it, I can’t do it, and if there’s no chance of winning, I don’t want to play it. Stomp stomp, hissy fit, no!

Also, I occasionally make really stupid decisions, and one of these was to do a Grad. Dip. in teaching. It was a one-year course which involved doing a lot of nothing-much for no particular reason. Sadly, it did not actually prepare any of us in the class for the nightmare of actual classroom teaching. I say it didn’t prepare us to teach, but it did introduce us to a nightmare: physical education classes. Bloody hell.

Picture this. The class of about 30 adults is lined up in the gymnasium. Today’s task is to learn how to teach gymnastics skills to primary school children by actually doing gymnastics skills. I don’t know how this is supposed to work; they’re completely different skills. However. Let us proceed.

I’m standing in a queue, and up ahead is one of those little trampolines you can jog on or use as a springboard. The task was simply to run up, jump onto the trampoline, and jump off. Simple, yes.

The people in the queue ahead of me run up, jump on, jump off. One by one, no problem. Run up, jump on, jump off. Next! Run up, jump on, jump off. Next! You get the picture? It’s such an easy task, why are we even bothering to do it?

But as I get closer to the start of the queue, I’m getting just a little bit nervous. I don’t like to run in front of people. I don’t like to walk in front of people. I certainly wouldn’t have chosen to run up and jump on a stupid little trampoline in front of people. And now, Next! It’s my turn! I start the run-up. In my head I’m going through what I need to do, deciding where to stop the run and start the jump. I’m bounding along the gym floor, the rest of the class watching from the sidelines. Yes I feel stupid, yes I look silly, yes I’m at the take-off area, yes I stop running and jump... ah, but hang on, do I? Do I jump?

Why, no! Despite the good example of all those fine folk before me, and despite my better judgement (sadly and suddenly extinct), I get to the take-off zone, stop running... and fall into the trampoline!

Oh... my... God...

All I had to do was jump on and jump off! How hard can that be?? I can’t even remember what happened next, my humiliation was so complete. Oh ... my... God...

The memory of this now sends me into hysterics, I’m happy to say. And I now have a peculiar feeling of pride in being possibly the only human EVER to fail this most basic gymnastics skill. Not everyone can do that, you know. No.