Thursday, April 10, 2008

Feeling sick in the gutter

The always splendid Mr Stephen Fry has, in this week's Podgram*, summed up precisely how I feel about sports. In describing why he doesn't ski, he says:

'It’s my own incompetence. I’m a very, very, very uncoordinated kind of person, and I’m afraid that I’m just absolutely hopeless. I’ve got about three goes at raising my own body weight before I fall back exhausted like a blubbery whale. Rocking and splashing like a bin liner full of yoghurt. It’s all very unfortunate. I don’t have the kind of body that responds well to any command to be coordinated and agile and swift and neat and nimble and balanced.'

A bin liner full of yoghurt. Yup, that just about describes my body shape for the majority of the past 20 years. Things are much better now, thanks for asking, and I'm not too far away from being a healthy weight (I've been boasting that I'm now just 'overweight' rather than 'obese' - how can you boast about being overweight?). But I still have the coordination of a one-legged duck with dementia and I am still as agile as a hippo in concrete moccasins. And never was this more ably demonstrated than today when I took my first virginal steps into the world of ten pin bowling.

Dawn captured my shame on camera for future generations to point at and laugh.

It's an American cliche that we've seen a thousand times before - the big, beefy, be-capped and bearded all-American man of the house out with his beer buddies on a friday night at the bowling alley. Fred Flintstone did it. The Big Lebowski did it. Michael J Fox did it in Teen Wolf (Which seems to be a permanent fixture on SKY movies). But I never did it. It was one of those rites of passage that I somehow missed. I was probably reading a book at the time. Anyhoo, they've now gone and built a bowling alley (is it called that?) smack bang in the middle of High Wycombe and I was dragged along there by my nephews and neices for a spot of ball on pin action.

I was rubbish. Absolute rubbish. My balls spent more time in the gutters than the average Sun reporter. Now there's a sentence you never thought you'd read. I would either let the ball go too early and watch it aimlessly dribble its way into the gutter. Or I'd release it too late - easily done with my fat thumbs - and wince as it flew through the air and smacked into the shiny floor with a bang like the first salvo of a six gun salute. Then, of course, it would roll into the gutter. Only now, everyone would be watching, having been alerted by the sound of potential gunfire.

Note the excellent ball positioning. My jeans were chafing, I admit.

At least the staff made a nice cup of tea which made me feel better.

Will I be going again? I wouldn't say no if I was invited, I guess. I'm not a humbug. But saying that, I can't see me being invited too often as the people I mostly kick around with are as uncoordinated and unsportsmanlike as I am. And everyone else could do without the massive handicap that my playing style would bring to their team. But I won't rule it out. And I might improve.

You can always build on a score of 0.

*Stephen Fry's Podgrams can be listened to and downloaded at


Michele said...

I bet you'd still beat me, even with a score of 0...I don't how, but there would be a way. I'm terrible at bowling (okay, all sports). :-)

I'm a fantastic spectator, though!

punk in writing said...

"My balls spent more time in the gutters than the average Sun reporter."

I almost burst out laughing when I read that line. Which would have been bad, as I am supposed to be hard at work updating the newspaper website.

I'm crap at bowling too, but every now and again I manage a strike. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Hi Punk in Writing - its not bad to laugh every now and then at the jibes we make or our employers...I do it all the time and its very cathartic!
So be bad often - laugh at will!

Nice post Steve -Can't get your updated website to load for love or money??

Stevyn Colgan said...

Hi Michele and Punky! Thanks for the comments (as always). X

Hi 'Me' ... I've tried loading my website ( from several different machines - PCs and Macs - and it's worked okay. Curiouser and curiouser ... I suspect that the problem may be your end. Oo-er.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stev - all in order now after a fiddle with my permissions....nanny virus software! Site looks much improved

Stevyn Colgan said...

Good-o! I'll add more links to the front page crossword thingy as I get time.