Song, by Toad

avatar

I, Boys and Girls, am a Fucking Athlete

Oh stop laughing, I actually was, once.  I really could run all day up to about the age of thirty, when a series of back injuries pretty much did for my fitness.  I’ve also played football at a reasonable enough level, and stuff like that, I was in a pretty successful high school basketball team, and could perhaps have been forgiven for having delusions of adequacy were it not for one thing: I’ve seen myself on film.

I remember someone saying in a Friday Five once: “ever tried to film yourself having sex and realised that you just aren’t all that physically attractive?” It was a bit like that.

At high school my senior basketball team won the European International School championship, and when I lived down South I played football for a team who won a pretty significant amateur level cup final.  Both these events were filmed for posterity, and Christ I wish they hadn’t been.

To be clear, I was fucking good in both games.  The football game was against the highest-scoring team in the league, they had us on the back foot for the whole game, and we won 1-0.  I played centre-back, and anyone who knows anything about football will know how satisfying I will have found a game like that.  I remember one tackle late in the game where some lad skinned our full-back, I was running in completely the wrong direction, was sure I was going to give away a penalty, but guessed where he wanted to go, adjusted and managed to just get a toe on the ball and concede a corner.  It was a cracking tackle!  And we won 1-0, and they humped us, and I was a defender – I was good!

In the basketball final, we played a team who had beaten us in the group stages, who took shit infinitely more seriously than we ever did, and I scored eighteen points and didn’t miss a single shot.  100% from the floor and 100% from the free-throw line.  That’s a superb performance in anyone’s book.

Then I saw the videos.

Fuck.

It was dreadful.  I mean, I am not one of these deluded idiots who secretly thinks he’s an amazing sportsman, by any means.  I know I’m slow, a little clumsy, and make up for my lack of real talent in most sports with good reading of the game and plenty of physical courage.  I wasn’t expecting to see an effortlessly graceful athlete on those videos, but fucking hell I didn’t think it was going to be that bad.

In the basketball game I just looked stupid.  My arse was sticking out all the time, I looked like I could barely jump ( although I could actually dunk at the time – just!), and basically I was stumbling about the place like someone who’d been shown a basketball for the first time that very morning.

The football game was probably even more depressing, because I am actually a lot better at football, so I guess my expectations were a little higher.  Nope.  The whole game just looked so slow, it was embarrassing.  I worked my tits off in that game, and it genuinely looked like I wasn’t doing anything at all – I can barely remember even seeing myself involved.  And that tackle?  It looked like he just ran straight into me for no reason.

It was all so depressing an experience I can offer only this advice: if you think you look good, if you think a dress or a shirt look snappy, or if you think you’ve managed to strike a casual pose or you’re secretly quite confident in your elegant, upright gait or anything like that at all… NEVER try and prove it to yourself!  Never.  Just keep your delusions and go about your day, because the cold hard snigger of reality is not something you ever want to face.

18 witty ripostes to I, Boys and Girls, am a Fucking Athlete

  1. avatar

    This is about football, isn’t it?

  2. avatar
    Rampant Chutney Consumerism

    i don’t know what this is about, but have you seen the ash outside….it’s really interesting!

  3. avatar

    Ash-holes.

  4. avatar

    I seem to remember reading a totally splendid article on damninteresting.com about the fact that humans basically have to delude themselves into thinking they are cleverer, better looking and funnier than they are to get through the day. There are actually people who lack the ability to do this and they tend to go a bit mad and end up horribly depressed.

    The guys I play with video every game and always threaten to make me watch. Thanks for reminding my why this would be such a horribly depressing idea.

  5. avatar

    Chutters, this ash that you’re playing with outside, did you find it in a small metal box screwed to the wall next to the front door of your office building?

  6. avatar

    You’ve let yourself down badly with that ash-holes pun Matthew. As for videoing yourself having sex, it never put Ron Jeremy off did it?

  7. avatar

    It is exactly the same if you ever in a band…. don’t ever watch videos of yourself doing a gig… you are not Jarvis Cocker, you are not Bruce Springsteen, you probably just look a little awkward… :)

  8. avatar

    When a musician first sees what their real guitar o-face looks like it must be a traumatic moment!

  9. avatar

    I was a gun netballer until I did my knee at the age of 16. I’ve been pretty proppy ever since. I played Centre and could run all day, but I was a bit like you I think – could read the play and make some awesome interceptions, but was never what you could call graceful. I had problems stopping too – I would race to intercept the ball and find myself tumbling face first into the fence or knocking over some poor innocent onlooker. People got to the point where they would sit up the other end of the court to avoid serious injury. It was sad.

  10. avatar

    I used to play badminton around four times a week, got pretty good. Played basketball and rugby for the school. Last leg of an all-conquering 4x100m relay team, sub-12 second 100m time, 200m specialist.

    Then I found the pub.

  11. avatar

    I have a European Cup Winners Medal from my days playing hockey. Too many broken bones and injuries put pay to my career though. That and the fact you’d spend at least 4 nights a week training, whether that was fitness or on pitch training, and would end up having no life outside the sport. My demise really came when I got the same injury that Scott Robertson of Dundee United has at the moment. It’s kept him out for a season and a half and he’s had 2 operations and lots of specialist advice. I was, in true Dundonian fashion, told to stop being a pussy and get on with it. Which basically fucked my leg, ended my career and turned me to a world of drink and music…..

  12. avatar

    Euan, this is about self-mockery, not self-pity.

  13. avatar

    No, my one was self-pity too.

  14. avatar

    I ran for the bus once.

    Still managed to miss it.

    Lesson learned.

  15. avatar

    fucking hockey

  16. avatar

    This is why we should get 5′s, Matthew.

    I can still run all day!

    YAY!

  17. avatar

    [...] of the Week Song, By Toad: “I, Boys and Girls, Am A Fucking Athlete” SBT’s Matthew reminisces about his days as a young athlete in a post that has nothing to do [...]

  18. avatar

    This is one of the lessons of life I think – I always mentally pictured myself a young Tyrese (http://rmusicb.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/tyrese-gibson-11.jpg) who is/was an attractive, chisled young black man. Myself being a not so young pasty white hump from Canada….well you see where I’m going with this.

    I used to run as well – hell I’ve done 4 full marathons and was aiming to break 3 hours until…life happened and I became a guy who blogs about music and piddles with a website in a basement office….so this was about self mockery and not pity right??

    Thanks for this post M.

    ~S

Leave a Reply

essay writing service