Dear Diary – Page 39 (Late 1950’s – Cricket & Rugby)

Meanwhile at school, I was learning valuable lessons about working with people!

“Spoke Wheeler”, my first history teacher, loved drawings to accompany the text of any classwork, or homework. I enjoyed doing drawings but was not so enthusiastic about text so I naturally kept text to a minimum, but included lots of drawings. I consistently received high marks for my history projects.

Then we had a change of history teacher and I found out, due to suddenly really disappointing marks, that “the new one” had no time for drawings but just wanted lots and lots of text!

A Latin class in later years provided a brief conflict with authority. I was never able to accept the point of learning a language that was no longer spoken and, not surprisingly, labored heavily with Latin. “Nobby Dexter”, my Latin teacher, decided, during one pupil’s slow and clearly painful translation of Caesar’s Gallic Wars from Latin into English, to invite someone else to take over the translation. His words were “Any fool can translate this can’t they ………….(as he looked around the classroom for a victim)……………………. Chappell (being me)?” My immediate response was “Any fool may well be able to translate this but Chappell can’t!” I was verbally reprimanded and told to pay more attention then perhaps I would start to understand it.

Thursday afternoons were dedicated to sports which in the Summer was Cricket, and in the Autumn and Winter would be Rugby.

Cricket I detested because the cricket ball was extremely hard and therefore very unforgiving if fumbled instead of having a clean catch. The fact that it could come at you at quite remarkable speeds did not help my opinion and, in fact, I used to try and position myself in the field where I thought the ball would least likely go! I clearly remember an incident with one boy who had the ball coming directly at him and low. He bent to catch it, but missed, and it hit him in his groin area. A teacher had to take him to hospital.

Rugby I detested slightly less in that one could only tackle the player who is carrying the ball. My goal therefore was to never actually carry the ball. The plan was good but, on many occasions, our positions were selected for us and apparently due to some perception of Chappell speed, I would be placed out in a wing position. I guess from a team perspective it was a good plan because if the ball ever made it along the line to me, and as I had nobody to pass it on to, I would have very little choice but to run as hard as I could!

There was an incident where one boy was tackled right near the rugby posts and as he went down, he rolled into one of the posts and stayed there clearly in pain. A teacher took him to the hospital where it was determined that he had a broken collar bone!

There should have been a sign somewhere – “Schools are hazardous to your health”!

(to be continued)

7 thoughts on “Dear Diary – Page 39 (Late 1950’s – Cricket & Rugby)

  1. Ouch! I’m female, but the cricket ball / groin incident…owwww. I remember how much it made my hands smart just catching it. We girls had hockey – this was just as bad. I had my two front teeth cracked by being hit in the face with a fast swinging stick! Mir xx

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        • When I was at school, we had a huge respect for the teachers because they had “power”. If a teacher complained about me, my parents would support him/her 110%. It seems that various law suits have taken away the authority of the teachers. Sports was a mandatory subject and one participated. It was not a choice. Most schools here (Canada) look at sports as an extra curricular voluntary activity.


          • That’s the way it was here in England too. These days, if a child gets into trouble at school, it seems the parents side with the child, and get the teacher into trouble. (Or maybe I have reached the age where I am just a cantankerous old bat who complains about everything 😉 ).

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