All Out!

Share your memories and stories from the Hertford Christ's Hospital School, which closed in 1985, when the two schools integrated to the Horsham site....

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
Angela Woodford
Button Grecian
Posts: 2880
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 10:55 am
Real Name: Angela Marsh
Location: Exiled Londoner, now in Staffordshire.

All Out!

Post by Angela Woodford » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:05 am

I've been scanning the post-Olympic articles in the papers this morning, and have been struck by so much response from readers to whom sport was absolute hell.

Horrible accounts of thuggish behaviour, glasses of the incompetent being smashed by sports bullies, sheer misery of being the last to be selected for a team, pupils with asthma forced to perform beyond their capabilities... Government proposals to ensure increased sports in schools seems to have brought out terrible memories!

It made me think that, at Hertford, the limited varieties of sport we did were administered quite reasonably. Nobody was forced to do any activity they found impossible because there were no extreme activities. Nobody was mocked for their physical build or abilities. Perhaps the extreme modesty to which we adhered (no communal showers!) prevented any strip-off-in-front-of-your-peers traumas?

For myself, I really disliked hockey. I was too fat to run fast, and lacked the stamina to do so. So I was placed at Left Back, and that's where I stayed. Back! The main difficulty was feeling so cold in hockey and netball because we weren't allowed sweaters. But swimming, tennis and a limited amount of field sports were quite kindly taught. Cricket was DR's thing... the keen girls were quickly spotted and put into teams, and the rest of us trailed up to Ashbourne, made daisy chains on the edge of the pitch, trailed down again...

The gym! Again, there was no unpleasantness if you couldn't climb a rope, somersault, or vault over a horse. You just did your best and after forty minutes it was all over. (Somersaulting! With my huge bosom, it would have made so much difference to wear a modern sports bra. :lol: )

The worst PE story I ever heard was that Miss Gravett would make her class lie on the edge of the pool and go along tipping in those who weren't confident. Hmm. If you were nervous of the water, not good!

I wasn't particularly sporty or competitive, but enjoyed physical effort and the glow of exertion. I was deeply thrilled to be in the 2nd Tennis V1. I loved to play (although didn't really mind winning or losing) but wished so much to succeed and be included in a team.

I've never met any Old Girl to whom sport was absolute hell.

Mistresses! Miss Ling, Miss Gravett, but most of all the unforgettable Nellie Norman! :D Squizzing: "Angela is rather tubby...". So tactful, Nellie!

(I wish I could tell Nellie that this year, I have gone, from being unable to run far, to having trained to run 10k as a pre-Olympic training challenge organised by a local Running Club. I was determined to do this. And succeeded! Now I'd like to train for a (tortoise-like, probably :roll: ) half marathon for charity next year...)

Unlike many of my Hertford Memories, I think our sporting education was good!
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

User avatar
Mid A 15
Button Grecian
Posts: 2928
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 1:38 pm
Real Name: Claude Rains
Location: The Patio Of England (Kent)

Re: All Out!

Post by Mid A 15 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:52 am

Angela Woodford wrote:I've been scanning the post-Olympic articles in the papers this morning, and have been struck by so much response from readers to whom sport was absolute hell.

Horrible accounts of thuggish behaviour, glasses of the incompetent being smashed by sports bullies, sheer misery of being the last to be selected for a team, pupils with asthma forced to perform beyond their capabilities... Government proposals to ensure increased sports in schools seems to have brought out terrible memories!

It made me think that, at Hertford, the limited varieties of sport we did were administered quite reasonably. Nobody was forced to do any activity they found impossible because there were no extreme activities. Nobody was mocked for their physical build or abilities. Perhaps the extreme modesty to which we adhered (no communal showers!) prevented any strip-off-in-front-of-your-peers traumas?

For myself, I really disliked hockey. I was too fat to run fast, and lacked the stamina to do so. So I was placed at Left Back, and that's where I stayed. Back! The main difficulty was feeling so cold in hockey and netball because we weren't allowed sweaters. But swimming, tennis and a limited amount of field sports were quite kindly taught. Cricket was DR's thing... the keen girls were quickly spotted and put into teams, and the rest of us trailed up to Ashbourne, made daisy chains on the edge of the pitch, trailed down again...

The gym! Again, there was no unpleasantness if you couldn't climb a rope, somersault, or vault over a horse. You just did your best and after forty minutes it was all over. (Somersaulting! With my huge bosom, it would have made so much difference to wear a modern sports bra. :lol: )

The worst PE story I ever heard was that Miss Gravett would make her class lie on the edge of the pool and go along tipping in those who weren't confident. Hmm. If you were nervous of the water, not good!

I wasn't particularly sporty or competitive, but enjoyed physical effort and the glow of exertion. I was deeply thrilled to be in the 2nd Tennis V1. I loved to play (although didn't really mind winning or losing) but wished so much to succeed and be included in a team.

I've never met any Old Girl to whom sport was absolute hell.

Mistresses! Miss Ling, Miss Gravett, but most of all the unforgettable Nellie Norman! :D Squizzing: "Angela is rather tubby...". So tactful, Nellie!

(I wish I could tell Nellie that this year, I have gone, from being unable to run far, to having trained to run 10k as a pre-Olympic training challenge organised by a local Running Club. I was determined to do this. And succeeded! Now I'd like to train for a (tortoise-like, probably :roll: ) half marathon for charity next year...)Unlike many of my Hertford Memories, I think our sporting education was good!

I wondered about your progress with this Angela.

Congratulations on sticking with it and completing it! :wine:
Ma A, Mid A 65 -72

Angela Woodford
Button Grecian
Posts: 2880
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 10:55 am
Real Name: Angela Marsh
Location: Exiled Londoner, now in Staffordshire.

Re: All Out!

Post by Angela Woodford » Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:07 pm

[quote="Mid A 15I wondered about your progress with this Angela.Congratulations on sticking with it and completing it! :wine:[/quote]

That's nice of you, Andy; thank you! Do you have Facebook? I have been posting embarassing photos of my progress... the incident with the Rottweiler in the woods.. the acquisition of the body-contoured running capri leggings and (what a thrill) real proper running shoes for the pronating foot!

The loan of an ipod for go-faster endurance! But what to put on it for power songs? I looked through my beloved collection of Requiem Masses on CD. Nothing seemed quite appropriate; however, the miracle gadget had already been impregnated with Ibiza Club Classics and Eezee-Dizzee-Dancemeisters. What an experience! :lol:
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

Liz60
2nd Former
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 9:22 pm
Real Name: Liz Foy (Stone) 1's 64-73
Location: Knutsford, Cheshire

Re: All Out!

Post by Liz60 » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:57 pm

I have to agree with you, Angela, that sport at CH - although my least favourite thing - was never absolute hell. That is, once Mrs Hislop left at the end of our first year; she always Had It In For Me as a result of a mix-up with a floating lesson, as reported elsewhere on this forum... Miss Westthorp was particularly sensitive towards those who were athletically-challenged, as long as you were prepared to have a go, and she inspired me - at least - to do so. One of my teaching jobs was at a small prep school and I actually had to teach (well, supervise) hockey and netball! I always used to think: If only they knew...!!

User avatar
Jo
Button Grecian
Posts: 2230
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 5:36 pm
Real Name: Jo Sidebottom
Location: Milton Keynes
Contact:

Re: All Out!

Post by Jo » Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:08 pm

Well, I'd have to disagree with both of you. I hated most sport at school and found it thoroughly humiliating. There was no bullying, admittedly, but I remember the ignominy of always being picked last for team games, having to lumber round on the hockey and netball pitches, having absolutely no co-ordination for tennis and never being able to get the ball over the net, feeling completely lumpen in those ridiculous jumpsuits.......I could go on but I'd rather not. I think Miss Gravett's pathetically stupid dancing lessons were worst - and I seem to remember having to do those up to quite senior years. Was that one of the things we were unaccountably re-subjected to in the Lower Sixth along with cookery and art, because it wasn't quite our A level year?

The only thing I enjoyed was swimming. And cricket, which, ironically, was optional, but I chose to do it because it made some kind of sense to me. Other sports were amongst the absolute low points of my CH experience.
Jo
5.7, 1967-75

Angela Woodford
Button Grecian
Posts: 2880
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 10:55 am
Real Name: Angela Marsh
Location: Exiled Londoner, now in Staffordshire.

Re: All Out!

Post by Angela Woodford » Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:38 pm

Liz60 wrote: That is, once Mrs Hislop left at the end of our first year; she always Had It In For Me as a result of a mix-up with a floating lesson, as reported elsewhere on this forum...

One of my teaching jobs was at a small prep school and I actually had to teach (well, supervise) hockey and netball! I always used to think: If only they knew...!!
Now I remember Mrs Hislop! There for our first year, Liz! I can vaguely see her in my mind's eye, standing on the non-slip bridge over the pool... a thin slightly hearty woman with sandyish stringy hair? Then smashing Miss Westthorp, the dancer, with her specs on, so neat and petite, although (hair again) I used to long to upend her in a basin with a bottle of Sunsilk For Greasy.

To think you had to teach netball and hockey, Liz! I'm dumbfounded in admiration. You mastered those rules! :prayer:

Jo, I think you're right and that we did do particularly inappropriate ( the Valeta!) dancing in the V1 Form. In the UV, I wrote and choreographed a "dance" sketch for our form for one of those Entertainments, and persuaded Trish Buddle and Susan Parkin to do a comedy waltz. They were fabulous, and brought the School Hall down.

Humiliation. I can remember a girl in our year - genius intellectual! - who absolutely was not built for any sort of sport. I thought at the time it was not fair! Why should she have to participate? But such was the respect in which we held her, that when she did take part her performance really didn't matter. There was never any teasing. Never.

There must be Old Girls who have gone on to play a sport with passion and excellence, but I've never met any! Which is strange, because I'm sure that many of us may have achieved a reasonable standard. OK, I've played tennis when I could afford to, and swim when I get the chance, but now I have been learning to run, that's a sport we never did at School. Just think - if I ever achieve a half-marathon - if I'd done that at Hertford, it could have counted as Running Away From School! :lol:

(Sticking to an off-road trail run to avoid being picked up by DR and taken back! :axe: )
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

fra828
Grecian
Posts: 547
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:54 pm
Location: Bournemouth

Re: All Out!

Post by fra828 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:59 am

Once I was in tears after being left out of the house rounders team, I really really wanted to be good at sport! Tennis was easily my favourite, would have loved to have been considered for the school team, but Nelly nearly always had the same people in each team. There was a notice board in the cloisters where you could put your name down for tennis matches. Later on there was a squash court, which was great. DR, or was it Miss Tucker? ,told me I could vent all my anger there. I was quite an angry person in my last year at Hertford, didn't want to be there, the petty rules were stifling, but didn't know what I wanted to do when I left, except escape out of the damn place!

Angela Woodford
Button Grecian
Posts: 2880
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 10:55 am
Real Name: Angela Marsh
Location: Exiled Londoner, now in Staffordshire.

Re: All Out!

Post by Angela Woodford » Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:09 am

My heart bled in sympathy at the thought of you in tears over being left out of the rounders team...

Rounders! Never, never in my entire school career did I suceed in hitting the ball with the bat. It seemed impossible! I resigned myself to being caught out by "the triangle" at the first post and going to chat on the outed persons bench instead.

The thrill, oh the thrill of going to that Notice Board in the cloisters at the beginning of term and looking excitedly at Nellie's lists... seeing myself down for TTP! And then in winter, the dismay of being selected for 2nd X1 HTP. But Nellie! I dreaded the game. Still, I'd been chosen for something which was still a bit exciting...

I really do identify with not knowing what to do on leaving, as the dire CH lack of career advice has been a theme to which I've often returned. Just to leave! That was the main thing! It would be terrifying to be out in the world, but how could I know what to do whilst still within those walls?
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

Angela Woodford
Button Grecian
Posts: 2880
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 10:55 am
Real Name: Angela Marsh
Location: Exiled Londoner, now in Staffordshire.

Re: All Out!

Post by Angela Woodford » Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:10 pm

Angela Woodford wrote:There must be Old Girls who have gone on to play a sport with passion and excellence, but I've never met any! Which is strange, because I'm sure that many of us may have achieved a reasonable standard.
Oops! :oops: :oops: :oops: Of course! That fabulous HOGoF over there in the USofA, Elizabeth Roe, who I know was called Kim in those days, in 2's, left 1977.

Elizabeth does all sorts of fantastic sports, triathlons; oh, she's so fit!

Sorry, Elizabeth, if you're reading this!
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest