Wednesday 7 May 1986

…Had Spellings and SMP today, as well as doing short tennis in PE…

Yet another bizarre sport to add to the list, and yet another one I had to look up online to discover what it actually was.

Short tennis is apparently a version of the conventional game that uses “a lower net and a larger, softer ball.”

This rings a bell as I have a distant memory of standing in my school playground trying, and failing, to wield a tennis racket in the direction of a giant yellow sponge ball, thereby demonstrating my incompetence at even the “junior” or “idiot” version of standard sporting activities.

I could never understand why, if you were demonstrably not good at PE, you were nonetheless expected to compete at the same level as everyone else, unlike nearly every other school subject where pupils of differing abilities were allowed, indeed encouraged, to learn at differing paces.

As it was, my inability to even play football soon turned into a fierce distaste for all compulsory physical education – though not, as was about to be rather unexpectedly proved, a distaste for watching and writing about it.

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