Finn started his first after school activity last week; In2Cricket, a cricket program that runs for an hour a week for 7 weeks. He’s pretty keen; we play driveway cricket quite often, he’s got fantastic hand eye coordination (not from me) and is a great all-rounder. I’m looking forward to seeing him play sport as part of a team , and of course see him learn all those wonderful positive things that you can’t learn from a blackboard: Sharing, teamwork, physical fitness, reaching your goals, losing gracefully, winning graciously, the importance of keeping at it, and even just enjoying the sensation of your body moving through the world.
I may be wrong on this but I think my first after school activity was ballet. If you know me personally you probably just made a weird sound through your nose. My sister and I did it together for quite a while, though I know I never showed one bit of talent for it. Doing the meant-to-be-graceful-on-tiptoes-run across the floorboards I was always the one singled out for stomping around like Frankenstein’s Monster in steel capped boots. What, I can’t even run properly!?
I couldn’t carry off a tutu, and if I’d ever made it into those tippy toe shoes it would’ve endly badly. The nail in the coffin of my ballet career was when, stretching at the barre with our teacher behind me holding my knee up so I could touch my foot to the back of my head, I farted.
On my ballet teacher.
In an otherwise silent studio witnessed by several classmates who subsequently burst out laughing. That was bad enough but can you imagine it happening up on stage during some dramatic, moving scene in Swan Lake or Giselle? …The music fades to a diminuendo, then, the church bell tolling her doom, Giselle flutters… falls dying into her lover’s arms… Albrecht, overcome with grief and remorse, squeezes her tight, whereupon –
I must’ve figured the chances of that happening were pretty high, because I’ve never had any burning desire to perform or go anywhere near a stage since. Though I suppose I still could’ve tried to make it into the chorus, where there’s literally a whole line of people behind and next to you to blame it on.
I wasn’t at all upset about being a ballerina fail; it was all good fun and I was even a bit flexible for a while. I had other sports to fall back on; I think it was Year 5 when I was doing four different sports at the same time – ballet as well as netball, tennis and soccer. What I really should’ve done was swimming, because I have the shoulders, and because you (probably) don’t need to be that co-ordinated as I’m sure it’s impossible to fall over in water. It would also have had the added bonus that should I fart, any incriminating bubbles would be lost in my churning wake. It might’ve even given me some torpedo power… Holy shit I’ve discovered Thorpie’s secret!
Anyway the lesson went well – huge turnout of little Preppies! – and was great wicket-smashing and ball-bashing fun. It was mostly ball skills to start with, but the kids were still super pumped by the end of the session. The boys segued seamlessly from team/character building cricket training to a “chase each other around the playground, hit whoever you can as much as possible, and tackle your buddies until they fall down” game. We mums stood back and let them carry on building great character through sport… until Charlie got punched in the nuts, and Finn ended up on the ground with one of his mates putting the boot in him. Ahh… boys.
PS. Huge thanks to the Kirov Ballet for artistic inspiration during the writing of this post. I nearly referenced W. Wordsworth as well but it wasn’t as amusing (to me) as what I ended up running with. The Kirov Ballet and Wordsworth? Howzat for highbrow toilet humour?
PPS. Humblest apologies to the Kirov Ballet for misappropriating their art for the sake of a lame fart joke. I don’t mean these things.