When I went to University I had aspirations of joining the university rowing team, but the 6am starts got the better of me and I inevitably dropped out. Gradually, running, hockey, netball and riding gave way to club nights, lie-ins, dissertations and long library stints. I became more and more sedentary. Ten years later I’m trying to get back into exercise. I run and walk the dog, go swimming and hit the gym. I still want learn to row, and am keen to play more team sports too.
As well as participating in sport, my family has always been keen spectators. Every year growing up my mum treated the Wimbledon ballot like an effort to get Glastonbury tickets. She’d arrange a network of friends and colleagues to bid for them so she was guaranteed a spot (inevitably always the men’s semi-finals – win win!) My sister and I would bicker over who got the prized spare ticket, and spend an afternoon sipping Pimms in cans and eating fresh strawberries.
Frank is an avid Tranmere Rovers supporter, and while my family has never been into football, I really enjoy going with him to watch the odd match. There’s something about a lower league football game that makes me swell with pride for Frank and his hometown of Birkenhead. Unlike the big clubs, they’re far less polished, a bit shabby, and decked out with local die-hard fans – the kind that have been supporting the same club for 50 years. I like that sense of community and loyalty.
There’s nothing quite like being in the thick of a sporting event, cheering on your team from the sidelines. In the coming year I’m keen to watch more sport in the flesh rather than on TV. Here are a few things that are top of my list.
I grew up in a small village, where every weekend you’d see the local team gleaming in their cricket whites, playing in the morning sunshine on the local green. I went to Nottingham University and always intended to go to Trent Bridge to watch a cricket match, but like so many things, I never got round to it. With the Ashes in full swing at the moment it’s hard to miss the cricket on tv or even online with all of the coverage from Coral. I've often found myself doing wedding arts and crafts with a cricket game on in the background, ever tempted to place a small bet (I like to think I’m a dab hand at guessing the scores, although that could be just plain beginner’s luck!) I love how quintessentially British Cricket is, and while I’m not that keen to get too close to a cricket ball that’s flying through the air, the sound of a ‘thwack!’ followed by shouts and clapping never fails to take me back to my childhood.
The London International Hose Show at Olympia
As a child this was without doubt the highlight of my year. Whether it was dressage to music, Shetland pony racing, the Spanish Riding School or the showjumping, I would sit wide-eyed on the edge of my seat, as my childhood heroes leapt over jumps that were bigger than me. I’m determined to drag Frank along sometime soon, to get him in the Christmas spirit!
A lovely lady I used to work with plays Roller Derby for the London Roller Girls and Team England (Lexi Lightspeed in case you’re interested) and I always loved our chats in the office about what she’d been up to. She’s basically the toughest little lass I know – and I’d love to see her in action. There’s something so empowering about women slamming into each other on roller skates!
Are there any sports you’re itching to see in the flesh? Or do you participate in something exciting? I’m always keen to try new things. I can’t say I’ll necessarily start boxing (ping pong is probably nearer my thing!) but I love to know what people get up to!