Wednesday 19 March 1986

…In PE we did Crab Football which is when you walk on your hands and legs,
chest upwards and kick the ball with your feet.
Prince Andrew got engaged with Sarah Ferguson.
Did my Piano Exam today…

Exactly one month after non-stop cricket, here I was having to take part in another demented, not to say demeaning, sporting activity.

I don’t even understand what I have written. You can’t see where you’re going if you’re walking on hands and feet with your chest upwards, so how on earth can you kick a ball? How can you pass to someone on your team? How can you even take a shot on goal? (Not that I would have been able to do the second and third of these actions when even playing normal football).

I doubt this kind of “physical education” (ha!) would be allowed today. Yet it was absolutely fine in 1986 for ten-year-olds to scuttle about on unforgiving asphalt, booting each other in the scalp, spine and crotch. Oh, and for adults to stand at the sidelines, watching and encouraging.

There must have been a teacher at my primary school who thought it’d be a bit “zany” and therefore popular to shun traditional PE activities and go for a more, erm, experimental approach.

He (and it was a he) wouldn’t have lasted long.

As for the piano exam, that’s literally all I wrote. “Did my Piano Exam today”. No word on how it went, good or bad.

Maybe I was trying to be ultra-nonchalent. Maybe the experience was too bonechilling for me to revisit. Or maybe I really didn’t have anything else to say about something that turned out to be rather humdrum and not so intimidating as I’d feared.

I suspect, deep down, I thought I’d done rather well, and didn’t want to jinx things by saying as much.

But I now faced a waiting game, of how long I wasn’t sure, to see if my instincts were correct.

(Note: Having just looked at Wikipedia, I see that in some versions of crab football “the player’s posterior is supported by a small wheeled platform which they scoot around with their hands and legs.” Why didn’t we have this?! I blame Leicestershire Education Authority. Or Kenneth Baker. Or the dinner ladies. Anyone but myself for being crap at sport.)

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