Reflections on my sporting past

I never really cut it in golf as such. I did, I suppose, get to a fairly low handicap and sneaked into the University team but that was about it. I put in a lot of work for that too. However I had poor technique and a wonderful and wayward loop which meant that no swing was ever really the same and ergo the result could be, let’s say, inconsistent. It was extremely frustrating as I played with swing changes and new ideas to no long lasting avail. So I do have a lot of compassion for my fellows out on the course who sometimes find it all a bit too much. Cigars and whisky seem to be a good antidote to all this though. Just wish they’d offered me that kind of thing as a youngster.
I was too much of an all rounder, played cricket and rugby and I think I dabbled in every sport known to mankind. This is no good though to get really good at something. Although I do remember and met Des O’Brien, who supposedly played rugby, hockey, tennis and squash for Ireland and reputedly played a squash match in the morning before popping down to Lansdowne Road for a quick international against Scotland. And indeed my old cricket master Mr Gilbert Parkhouse, whose obituary I read only the other day, whacked a few centuries for England and played rugger for Swansea.
And I remember him very fondly indeed for something he didn’t do. And that was smack my bottom. Our whole year in secondary 2 was in the gym and had been up to some universal mischief. As punishment we all had to bend over and Mr Parkhouse ran the gauntlet with a cricket bat and granted the said punishment to a line of senior year two’s posteriors which extended the length of the Daniel Stewart’s and Melville College gymnasium. Except when he got to me he stopped, reflected and exclaimed in his beautiful Yorkshire tones, which I still hear today, and most earnestly said ‘this boy can play cricket’, hence exempting me from the said punishment. And I think it was the most flattering and heartfelt compliment that I have ever received.

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