In 1986 Sham was finishing secondary school (the equivalent of high school) in the UK.
The highlight of the school year was “sports day”. Here is another tale from the vault…
School sports day was the equivalent of the Olympics… ok so it would have been the World’s filthiest Olympics in that school but hopefully you get the significance.
Over 1000 kids went to my school and we had close to 300 in my year so when the final sports day in my final year came around, it was considered a big deal as many other years were spectating and this was where you made your mark as a hero or more likely in the case of this school, as a numbskull.
My class was possibly the least athletic in the school. In the mix we had 2 boys who later in life became ladies…(that’s another story), several future bus, truck, taxi or train drivers and 5 girls who all went to work at a textile factory where the athletic highlight of each mundane week was going “clubbing” which meant drinking and man hunting at a choice of 3 places every Friday & Saturday night for the next 10 years.
The idea of sports day was to pick a class representative to compete in each event and depending on where you finished you scored points – the same scoring system as the CrossFit Games, First place = 1 point, second place = 2 points etc so the lowest final score meant you had the best result.
Each student was supposed to only do a maximum of 2 events but due to the fact that most other student were inept- I was nominated to do 5 events by my class teacher. She either hated me or just wanted to keep from causing trouble on that day.
The “best” of these 5 events to me was the javelin.
You basically got to throw a weapon as far as possible so it was quite attractive.
Unknown to most of my sporting opponents at school, 4 months earlier I had asked my dad if I could have a weights set for my birthday and amazingly I got one!
It was a gold vinyl covered concrete dumbbell and barbell set. The lowest of the low in the weightlifting world but this was my first gym!
I trained almost daily for 4 months doing movements I thought would help… Thrusters, cleans & presses, tricep extensions with a swing and good mornings formed my routine.
All this was long before the days of the Internet and the local library had little to offer but I had seen a TV program about my hero Daley Thompson and his training routine. This guy was a 2 time Olympic Gold medalist in the decathlon at the Moscow and Los Angeles Olympic Games. Quite simply, he was brilliant.
He also had a magnificent moustache.
Despite my inability to grow facial hair the training routine was great for me. I developed explosive strength, some muscle and understood the idea of compound movements.
When sports day arrived, to the utter amazement of the teachers, my javelin throws established a school record that remained unbroken until the school was closed down. I wasn’t the most athletically gifted, I hadn’t asked teachers for help but, unknown to them, I had been in training every day in my bedroom with my weights, albeit in my underpants, for 4 months.
Amazingly the plastic weights outlived the school by many years. They survived and were handed down to my brother to continue the legend of the Shamnasium…