Here (apparently) is how Stuart Hall reported my ultimate sporting night-mare... it’s a good few years ago now, but some wounds never heal. Over to you Stuart...
Tis the sports day father’s race... an athletic plethora of paternal poise, power and physique... ha... and the one man in the silly fat
suit... But wait... I am guilty of
mendacity no less, for the man doth not wear the jolly fat suit; his portliness is his very own... pies, pasties and beer, paid for, ingested and retained for the watching children, staff and parents to observe amid much shaking of heads and whisper ye not the letters BMI...
A hush descends as the six men take their marks...
But the silence is broken, nay shattered, by the sound of “Greensleeves”... it is Luigi and his ice cream van, all the way from... er... Whitley Bay, to provide some frozen, perhaps even flake-filled joy for competitors and spectators alike...
And so... Five sprinters and l’homme de Michelin assume their positions on the start line... gazing in anticipation (or dread) at the fifty yards of lush and verdant turf... England’s green and pleasant race track... stretching out in front of them.. There is no gun... health and safety... a modern scourge... but lo... the largest competitor has proffered his joker; yet there are no spinning turntables, no slippery obstacles and most importantly no Belgians... Guido... Gennaro... “Che succede?”
No matter... “Go”... and immediately up went a huge roar from the crowd... the sort of roar that lions made... “Lyon’s a-Maid,” exclaimed Luigi...“but I only sella da Walls”
And how the fathers run... gazelle-like... save one... As the race unfolds, so the sturdy Falstaff stumbles... arms swirling like a windmill in a hurricane... he’s going to fall... is he?... ha ha HAA!!! Will he finish... can he finish? Come on fatso... ha HAAHH!!! Going... going... it’s time for the gavel, Leonard Sachs...
Up ahead, the contest is over and the winner is congratulated. Away in yonder distance though, Olympic dreams lie in ruins... it’s a tear-jerking sight, but today athletics will bid farewell to one of its unlikeliest stars: Richard Kirby, the man who needed a water station for long-distance races... like the 400 metres... and the only man ever to be lapped in the long jump... sits alone... inconsolable.
He’d reached his sporting nadir (as in Commaneci...) and there was but one thing he could do...“99 please Luigi..”... but alas, the freezer was bare. The van’s engine fired into life and the opening bars of “Greensleeves” drifted away on the summer breeze...
Italy 1, Great Britain... nul.
All my own work... almost.