Sunday, 27 April 2014

Hanging out with the Jocks

I am incredibly uncoordinated. At school I was one of the weedy ones. In the juniors, myself and two others managed to never play hockey or netball. There were three too many girls for two teams and not quite enough hockey sticks so we’d always stand at the back, stare at our feet and the teacher never ever remembered to swap us in. Instead we’d play imaginary games. When it was rounders in the summer we’d go deep deep field and make daisy chains and subtley, cunningly stay on the fielding side the whole time.

   There was not such a benevolently blind eye turned at secondary school and I was in different classes to my two old compadres. This was the time of picking teams and I’d always get selected last. It’s not good for one’s self esteem, that waiting game, staring again at my feet. In retrospect I don’t blame the choosers; I was rubbish. No, I blame the teacher. I remember once being made the team picker and picking the absolute reverse, all of the hopeless cases, all of my friends. The teacher was furious, the netball game was ludicrous, but it made a point. I hope they don’t do things that way these days.

   I discovered not all Sport is evil in my twenties, via badminton. It was a pit pat affair with colleagues, where we sometimes pretended to be pterodactyls, attempted a left handed game or did a 3-handed game, running around the court each thwack. And it was tremendous fun.

   And now I have discovered Sporty people. Some of my best friends are sporty. I wonder if they were popular at school? I’m still not quite sure how the hell I ended up working in Sport.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Devastation of Losing a Discarded Friend

I haven’t been there recently. They sold the best coffee in town. For many years we would go there once or twice a day. Coffee and a swirly-whirly (Danish Pastry) or a Five-fifty-five (Two coffees and a hot seafood wrap: not for me, for he, whose tastes sometimes allude me) or on hungover days, coffee and a tuna-cheese melt. When they had it, only occasionally, lemon and ginger cake, which is nearly the best cake in the world ever, second only to my Mum’s cheesecake. It was run by Linda and Ray, who was the most talented whistler, he riffed and trilled along with the radio, enhancing many a pop song. In the old days comically miserable Dan worked there who was full of strange stories and an almost friend. I threw a bit of business their way when I could. It was so unpretentious, so  Ronseal, so comfortable. Then abruptly Mr didn’t want to go there anymore. I would meet friends there but our day-to-day places were different. It remained special to me, nostalgic. I wanted to go there on my birthday but Mr thought it wasn’t special enough so we didn’t. 

I walked past it tonight and Centro is now Nicola’s, the glass display counter replaced by a bar, the back wall now a funky blackboard. I felt a wave of dismay, of devastation. Centro, I’m sorry I stopped visiting, you were a fond chapter, a bit of sense in the pomposity of this city.