When the Olympics rings, you answer. Unfortunately, it was just the Commonwealth Games, but I accepted the call to arms anyway (there's nothing good on the TV when the games are on, so I figured I would have some spare time to compete). And feet. Feet are also a very important part of the game I would be participating in. Or so was the plan.
I was nominated as Captain of the team, which was a huge honour and came with many important responsibilities. None more so than slicing the oranges into sectors and shaving every team members legs to ensure they could all achieve at one's best.
(* according to http://www.livestrong.com/article/269614-why-atheletes-remove-body-hair/ a study showed athletes with no hair experienced a reduction in blood lactate, a decreased VO2 (shampoo and conditioner, I can only assume), and an increase in stroke length. In fact our most senior member, Walter, experienced a stroke for over 4 and a half hours.)
We were heady favourites to take out the Gold medal that year. Our croquet team was so dominant at that time that they had branded us by the lofty title of 'The Impregnables' (I assume this was due to us being an all-male side).
|Cross-training exercise. We found training on steep inclines was great for stability, and worked wonders on our buns.|
We took to practicing in the middle of the main arena whilst the games had commenced - in order to prance about in front of the cameras to gain full exposure for our commercial sponsors and to get acclimatised to the noise of the spectators. To sharpen our skills, we undertook to our mallet skills while the javelin throw was on. As dangerous as this may seem, this helped to fine tune our hand eye coordination, and the pointy end proved not to be the tip of our downfall, but a spherical lead implement.
While executing SXP's ('sextuple peels' for the very few of you out there unfamiliar with the fine elements of championship croquet) I mistook a shot-put for an Olympic standard croquet ball and severely jarred my hand - to this day it remains slightly pickled though surprisingly well conserved. This err in ball selection was to prove quite costly, and history would show I was never able to recover and take to the field in a single game.
Further disruption to the team occurred when our heavy hitting full-forward-left-striker George 'The Hammer' Etoundi was arrested after head-butting a weightlifter from England (as is common tradition at the Games). George was sent home in disgrace ('Disgrace' being the ill-named team jet of the Chinese swim team).
Our team was never able to recover, plummeting out of medal contention and finishing dead last in our draw. Not all was lost. The news was well received by my former year 11 economics teacher who found the embarrassing losses extremely amusing at my expense.
In hindsight - though you would be a brave man to question the mind of our visionary coach who was a firm believer in the element of surprise - it could be argued it was never a good idea to send a croquet team to represent their country at the Commonwealth Games at basketball.