Wednesday, 28 November 2007


Knee deep in snow and no chance in hell of being ‘outdoor active’. Yes there is skiing, but that’s hardly an option at 6pm on a Tuesday night. In fear of having my arse permanently stuck to the desk chair during the dreary dark evenings, endlessly surfing through YouTube and checking out the latest clips Wong sends me the links to (although I highly recommend this Russian gem), I decided to join a volleyball team. It’s mixed, it’s free, and it’s at the local primary school. The team is run by the teachers who work there. Got in through connections (Michal’s mate Szymon teaches maths there). Now when you think primary school, you usually think cozy one-to-two storey type building, with classes of 25 and lots of paper cut-out flowers stuck in windows. This school is a bit different. It is four levels if you count the underground gym bit and caters for 1200 primary school kids. There are over 35 teachers and classes are divided from year 3 along high-school mechanics, i.e. different teacher for PE, different teacher for maths, different teacher for chemistry, Polish etc. The school is equipped with two gymnasiums (basketball court, volley ball net, indoor soccer goals, handball, and bits and pieces needed for gymnastics), an atrium, showers, changing rooms AND this leave-your-winter-boots storage solution thingy so that children don’t slosh around in their wet footwear round the corridors. They even have special bags for their slippers or ‘dry shoes’ that they bring with them and hang up in the morning. There is also a portiere who sits in the school’s lobby and the floors smell of lemon scented cleaning detergent.

The teachers have a shit common room though, with one photocopier and only 15 or so chairs for the whole lot of them. They have to bring in their own mugs, coffee and have no regular access to their own computers or the internet. There are nice curtains though and plenty of pot plants. They also get paid next to nothing. When I say next-to-nothing, I don’t mean the usual teacher whinge. I mean next to nothing. Szymon, in order to make a standard living wage, has to tutor privately about an additional 25 hours per week. Lucky he is a maths teacher. They’re in big demand. Imagine if he taught home-ec. He’d be rooted.

As for volleyball? I am officially the midget retard. Amongst burly men who are over 1.90m tall, who whack the ball like jackhammers, and who block volleys in a way that make me look away with fear, I have come to accept I may be there because everyone is too polite to tell me to rack off. Stuff it. My ego is intact and I am having fun. Only once did I feel like vomiting out of sheer horror and embarrassment for being so completely shit. With every week I get a little better. For example yesterday I even managed to score 4 points. In two hours (for those who know anything about volleyball – that’s a really bloody awful average).

foot locker with shoe bags

some of the jackhammers

volleyball does not have to be poncey

midget retard


pinolona said...

Any other tips for indoor sports in Krakow? (for people who are nowhere near up to midget retard standard in team games!) I managed to get the rollerblades out during the ten seconds when there was no snow this weekend, but apart from that am going ever-so-slightly nuts stuck in front of the computer trying to remember what daylight looks like...

Karen said...

"vomiting out of sheer horror and embarrassment for being so completely shit"

thank you for so viscerally expressing why I'm too scared to play team sports. You're a better midget retard than I.

m said...

I think I still have my old 'dry shoe bag' hidden in an old box of treasures - must be fun going back to school Jazz.

Anonymous said...

i particularly like the jumper tied around the waist for that extra retard midget edge. the way it flairs up when you serve... noice.


Malunini said...

Crickey - the "szatnie" rooms take me back... completely forgot about those..., there are perfectly suitable sports for midgets - jockeying for example although that might be tough in winter and in a city ... there is always wrestling (not WWF) where the low centre of gravity may give you an advantage :P

Anonymous said...

I hear ya sista but I reckon I could challenge you to midget retard in team sports. I joined a mixed touch footy team where the guys average 100kg and 6% body fat. The one time I ran over the try line with the ball I did a little winning jig dance in my glory I completely forgot to put the ball down. I couldn’t sleep that night because the scene kept replaying in my head.


Michael said...

Whaddya mean, 'although'?

ALL the clips I send are TOP QUALITY, having passed my rigorous selection criteria.

You no longer have the possibility of playing with me. Or riding in my Yaguar.