In PE today, Mr G (PE teacher) came into the changing room and said “Who is in (House name) BH?”


Me and a couple of other people put our hands up.


Mr G pointed at me and PO and said “Right, you two are doing inter-house cross country.”


So we got changed, PO was reluctant, I was excited- maybe I can get a badge!


We went on The Edge (playing fields), and the girls in Band B (the year was split into 2 halves, B was mine) walked up after us. We lined up at the start, he (Mr G) said Go, and we were off. We did a few laps and then the girls made a structure like so:


I drew a pair of lines to represent the track, and small circles to represent girls gathered on either side.


They screamed encouragement at me, which was really good, and I ran a lot faster than I did last night at running club.


On the last lap, I ran through the formation at the end as fast as I could, plastered in mud, and collapsed on the grass at the side. There were about 5 people behind me, but loads were running. I came through with PO on my tail, but I just beat him. I got back and got a free can of vimto.


HC’s had her hair permed. I think SB still fancies me (if she does)


I went running last night but I did crap. Before I ran (today) I thought I was going to do crap and show myself up in front of all the girls, but I came 5th! To the last, that is.


I’d like to talk about personal esteem. It’s something I’ve struggled with my whole life, and this is a perfect diary entry to cite at this point. I used to go to a running club in Oldham. I was crap at it, because I hardly got any exercise. That one hour a week was it, other than maybe a couple of PE lessons during a day, where I’d contribute as little as possible to team games.


So I was unfit, I wouldn’t eat properly, I was short, weak and timid. My belief was that nothing I could do would ever be right. But on this day, I gave the run my best shot. Despite being probably the shortest lad in the race, hence having one of the shortest strides, I still beat 4 other guys. I should have felt much better about myself, but the support I got from the girls was very unusual. They normally hated me. SB (One of the “Three Musketeers”) was winding me up.


A change from the routine, female encouragement, real exercise and approval from the girls as well. In hindsight, I should have used this moment to bolster my confidence. But I didn’t. And there were dark times to follow.


And no, I didn’t get a fucking badge.

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