The Columnist

My life and other disasters…



Olympic Fever

Now that I’ve recovered from the birthday celebrations and come to terms with the fact that I’m on the official countdown to the big 3-0, I’ve been giving some serious thought to my Bucket List.  Loads of people have said that they have their own list already, some friends have decided to write their own and I need to start cracking if I want to tick everything off.

Although I’m quite excited about some of the things on my list, considering ‘Owning a Pogo Stick’ is down as something I’d like to achieve in the next 365 days, it’s a bit embarrassing when you look at the Olympic athletes, their achievements and sacrifices.  I spent the weekend in the park with friends doing our own version of the Olympics.  We played rounders, shot-put with a lettuce, Javelin with a french stick and competed in backwards running and a falafel and spoon race (we forgot the eggs).  All whilst eating Doritos and drinking sparkling rose.

Today, I can’t walk.  I thought that going to the gym and partaking in the odd spinning and body pump class was enough to keep me fit.  If that’s not enough to survive our own park games unscathed, then how much training and dedication must it take to be an actual athlete?   I threw a baguette approximately 4 metres (we marked our distances with various items from the picnic – I was the salsa dip) and typing this is causing actual pain. How Jessica Ennis is walking, talking and functioning after all those events is beyond me.

Jessica and the rest of Team GB has inspired me to think big. Bigger than the Bucket List and to aim high.  If Helen Glover can win gold at rowing having never competed in the sport until 4 years ago, then surely I could spend the next 4 years committed to an event and try to make Team GB?  This led to lots of research.  Turns out Helen was already pretty sporty and a good match physically for rowing, being tall and athletic.  Maybe I should take up something a little less physical? Archery perhaps? Although, looking into that into a little more detail revealed the event as ‘A tense and testing sport that requires immense reserves of skill and nerve’.  Doesn’t really appeal to my (very limited) skill set either.

This led me to the BBC Olympic Athlete Body Match. Now, I know that it’s not the most accurate way to decipher how I’m going to get myself to the Olympics, but it did give me a good kick in the right direction. Turns out there are 3 athletes in the games that are the same height and weight as me, therefore scientifically confirming that my physique is Olympic-able. Sona Bernardova, a synchronised swimmer from Czech Republic; Margarita Tschomakova, a Bulgarian fencer and Elisa Riguado, an Italian race walker. Synchronised swimming scares me as it would involve being in a swimsuit and mastering the ability not to sink.  Fencing looks a bit to tricky and I don’t fancy the outfit. The word ‘walk’ immediately caught my eye. I walk every day. Surely there has to be more to it?  Turns out yes. Race walking (as it is known) is that funny waddle walk (I had to look it up and that wasn’t the technical term). I had no idea it was an Olympic sport, I thought it was reserved solely for retirement home outings and people who wear socks with sandals.

4 years seems a long way off, but when I think back 4 years, it doesn’t seem that long ago. If only I had thought of this sooner, I could have been waddling around on home soil!  Never mind.

So I’m adding to the list. Race walking.  I need to learn how to do it and get good at it. The thought of training is quite humiliating, but then I could be laughing all the way to the podium!  I’ve been looking into the 20km walk, and have done a little research around my new sport. If you’re interested in finding out a little more, I found a great article aptly titled, Everything You Need To Know About Race walking. Initially I was concerned and think perhaps the use of ‘walk’ in the description is a little misleading considering they walk faster than I currently run.  But I have 4 years to get quick and master the technique. And if all else fails, well – at least I’ll look as cool as these guys 🙂

So I’m planning on a new aim with a longer term goal.  Bring on RIO!!


Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s some football competition happening at the moment?  I mean, you might have missed it.  If perhaps you are dead or living under water?

I know that it’s a big deal (for people not from Scotland) and I try to care about Euro 2012. I really do. I have even made a real effort to pay a bit more attention.  I have sat through a few games and not left the room.  I’ve been brushing up on my knowledge too.  This involves reading the backs of players shirts, so I can throw in a name or two into conversation.  Most of the time I either pronounce the name wrong or realise I don’t actually know which team the name belongs too… but it’s the thought that counts.

Then there is the Olympics.  The countdown has officially begun! We’ve got tickets to the Beach Volleyball, mainly because that’s the only event I thought would be more fun to watch live, than on the TV. I’ll probably leave ridden with guilt for not starting every day with squats and sit-ups and refuse to wear a bikini ever again. With regards to the rest of the events, I imagine it’ll be like the Jubilee or the final of The Voice, I won’t be that excited, but I’ll watch them anyway. From the sofa, where it is safe.  Boris should be handing out medals to anyone who all who braves public transport, that’s an event in itself.

I don’t actually play any team sports so I always consider myself a person who isn’t competitive.  Apparently, this is not the case. Not the case at all. It seems I spent my youth confusing the definition of ‘competitiveness’ with ‘crap at everything’.  Turns out I am competitive. I do actually want to win, but only at things I can actually do. I discovered this hidden competitive streak when playing a certain board game:


In certain circles, I am categorically banned from playing Articulate.  Namely because I end up shouting/screaming/jumping up and down/hurling abuse… It’s fair to say I can get over-excited.  Especially if a few drinks are involved.  The thing about this game is, bearing in mind it’s the only game I have ever won (ever) and actually enjoy playing, it involved pretty much no skill at all.  No training. No fitness regime. No talent. In fact, all you really need in order to play the game is a relative grasp of the English language and the ability to read.

Lucky for me. I speak English. And I can read. Unlucky for me, so does everyone else.  But that’s why it get’s so exciting! Televised Articulate championships.  That’s something television production companies should consider. I’d watch it.

There are other games that I quite like but, like football and the Olympics (not quite in the same category) they do involve some sort of skill, none of which I have. Pictionary – you need to be able to draw. Monopoly – not only do you need to have some sort of financial awareness, you also have to have a spare 4 hours. Rapidough is really fun, but you have to make stuff out of play doh. Not my forte.

I’ve just started reading a book called Games People Play by Eric Berne Turns out it has nothing to do with board games or football. It’s all about the psychology of human relationships.  So there’s no avoiding games.  They’re bloody everywhere!  But I only want to play the ones that I can win. Which is why I stick to what I know.

Snap, anyone?

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