Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The Angel with the Tattoo

I remember dad once took me and my brother to Gateshead Stadium to watch an athletics meeting in the 70's. He was pals with Brendan Foster, the distance runner, and so we went armed with 4 bits of cardboard - each with a letter on - 'B' 'R' 'E' 'N'.

I remember the buzz in the big stand as he ran. I held up the 'B' and the 'R' proudly and shouted 'Bre-en, Bre-en!' as he cruised down the home straight to victory. It was brilliant, and I became a big fan of athletics. When you see these athletes in 'real life' you appreciate just how amazing they are.

During the 80's I used to love watching Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett and Steve Cram - three British middle distance runners that competed against each other on all the great occasions. Seb Coe was the posh looking one who seemed to sail effortlessly around the track looking lovely, Ovett was the ugly one who also sailed around the track, but who didn't look as nice, and then there was Crammy, the local boy with the golden curls, who on his day, ran like a gazelle.

There were some occasions, though, when I'd find myself yelling at Crammy on the telly. Whenever he got tired, and hadn't paced himself as well as he should, he would run down the home straight, his head wobbling all over the place, and his feet looking like they were running through sticky tar. 'Howay man Crammy, keep yer head still for God's sake!' But you knew his body had 'gone' as the competitors flew past him to victory.

I kind of know now, how poor Crammy must have felt when his head went all wobbly and his legs just wouldn't work properly. He would know that all he had to do was run another 100metres -  a simple task, but his body wouldn't let him - just as my body protested last night at the cricket. Angels v's 8 young county whizzkids.

Dad and I had been to the hospital in the morning for my ct scan. It wasn't so bad. I came out with 4 little tattoos. The only trauma of our visit this time, was when we were leaving. The revolving doors moved slowly around, and as I left the building through the door safely, dad walked straight into the glass.
We are probably the only people ever to leave that horrible place roaring with laughter.

Dad turned up to watch the cricket. I'm surprised he didn't have 6 bits of cardboard with him,  'S' 'H' 'E' 'N' 'T' 'S.'

I knew what I had to do. Bowl straight, field the ball well, don't lose my wicket early, and get a few runs.
In my first over, I hit the young batter in the guts with a full toss, hoyed the ball so wide and so high that it almost hit a couple of seagulls innocently flying past, and pretty much 'went all to hell.'
In the field, I ran about like a new born lamb for 10 minutes, then brought myself off after only 14 overs - my head was wobbly, my legs were like lead bollards. I felt like a knackered Crammy.

Opening the batting, I faced the 4th ball, went for a whack, and the bloody stumps and bails went flying. I wanted to shout 'B*S*ARDS!' but this was cricket, ladies cricket, so all I could do was trudge off and pretend I didn't care.

Husband was furiously frustrated with me. All that practice in the garden. 'Why the hell did you try and slog it?!' he cried, as I arrived back at the club house. Just like me, yelling at the telly all those years ago - 'why the hell didn't you pace yourself, Crammy?'


'Have you had a tattoo today?' my protective dad, and biggest fan, asked husband quietly.

Frustration. It brings out so many emotions. We can yell at Steve Cram and Robert Green on the telly because they are supposed to be better, we can yell at our wives in a village cricket match because you desperately want them to be better (in their performance and their health) or we can just say 'hey don't worry about it, you've had a bad day, just do your best next time...'

I'll go with my dad on this one. I do have a bit of an excuse I suppose, and I will have to work hard to gradually build up all the fitness that's withered away over the last 6 months. Its bloody frustrating knowing that only a few months ago, I would have bounced around that pitch all day long.

In the clip above, Crammy is at his very best. He sits at the back, then gradually pulls away and wins the race by a mile. Patience, and I'll get there too - my own little Commonwealth Games.

Meanwhile, I'll continue to do my best with the lovely Angels and I'll still yell at all the athletes, the lazy, useless, overpaid footballers (unless they win the world cup) and all other sportspeople on the telly, whether they've had a tattoo that day or not....

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