Left in a sweat by Olympic fever

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Palms a-tingling. Heart a-racing.

Breath quickening as beads of perspiration pop through pores and unite in tiny, trickling rivulets.

Out there, in that stadium, the pressure is on.

Ditto, me. In that living room. On the knife-edge of that sofa.

Olympic fever; it’s making me come over all funny. Sport’s on the telly round the clock at my insistence; Boy and Bloke can’t believe their luck.

It’s quite bizarre, seeing as me and sport have been sworn enemies all my life.

I was brainy at school, but the wilting ninny at PE. The squeal of a rubber plimsoll on polished parquet and I’d be cowering in a corner, wishing I could to shimmy up the ropes like tiny Terry Davy and cartwheel, flip and fall into the splits like Patty Smith (NOT the mother of American punk, but the little girl who lived down the snicket, whose mum looked after the donkeys in Clifton Park).

Ball games? No-go either. I had no hand-to-eye co-ordination. I’d stand there, poised to fail as the rounders ball flew towards, then past, me and my flailing, air-whipping bat thinking; why do they make them so THIN?

“Josephine is erratic with a ball,” Mrs Thorpe wrote on my school report. I was eight. It became the epitaph for my sporting life from that point on.

At Brinny Comp, though, they wouldn’t let me be. I had long legs so they decided I must be able to run. Then, in the 100 metres, when I was actually going so fast my feet couldn’t keep up, I fell to my knees and skidded through cinders. Both legs were bandaged for weeks; ironically, I looked like a racehorse.

So they made my try other forms of torture; high jump, long jump, netball, volleyball and hockey.

I hated them all, but hockey the most. Those horrid boots with rubber ankle protectors; bullying off - never a more appropriate term when you were nose to nose with a ruddy-cheeked Amazonian from Oakwood.

I once faked a letter from my mother to the games mistress. You know the gist; bad period pains.

Some 37 years on, my knees still have bits of track embedded in them and I still have such a hatred of sport I don’t even own a pair of trainers.

But London 2012; I can’t get enough of it. I was gutted when I realised our Italian summer holiday fell in the middle of Week One. With no TV in our B&B, I spent hours searching in vain for a Radio Rentals store window to watch Jessica.

I’m bursting with pride that our teeny island has produced people so unlike me, with the talent and commitment to hone their bodies to the peak of perfection and the valour to battle for those few, vital moments.

I’m deliriously riding the tidal wave of emotion sweeping through the home crowd and powering our Olympiads on to the greatest glories of their lives.

And - I’m going. To London. To be a part of the most amazing spectacle on earth.

Queues? Security checks? I don’t care. Today, as you read this, I will be there, watching, of all things, the hockey.