|A depressed-looking triple jumper.|
Friday, 20 January 2012
Triple Jumping for Joy
Niffed netballers, hacked-off hockey players, pissed-off polo horsemen and horseladies. All sports people are prone to depression. But the worst afflicted have to be the triple jumpers. When you’re low, the last thing you feel like doing is skipping and that’s exactly one-third (33.33%) of the tasks demanded in the triple jump, otherwise known as the ‘hop, skip and jump’. Picture this scenario at an athletics meet:
‘What was that?’ demands the depressed triple jumpers’ coach after a sub-standard attempt.
‘I don’t know. Don’t feel like skipping. I’m fed up,’ retorts the triple jumper skulking off.
‘You hopped and then you jumped. You didn’t even make the sandpit.’
The triple jumper shrugs.
‘Look, if I don’t at least see sand in your socks by the end of play, you’re back where you started sunshine – I’m demoting you to the long jump.’
Stern, tense stuff. It’s difficult for others to recognise the signs of depression. Yet we could at least act to accommodate the bluesy triple jumper. If he can’t bring himself to skip, why not give him the opportunity to compete in a different event – the double jump. After all, you’re asking a lot of the long jumper to step up to triple jump status. It’s a quantum leap, if you like.
What’s the problem you might think. Nothing that a few drugs couldn’t sort out. After all this is athletics. Not that we’re saying athletes are susceptible to drugs; that athletes are mere junkies. No. They are most certainly not. Athletes have to be the fittest junkies. Take some uppers. That should fix the skipping problem. Nothing like an ebullient triple jumper.
But actually let’s stop and think this through. Forget the drugs route. And let’s make triple jump exciting and unpredictable. How? By allowing only athletes with a certain temperament to compete, athletes who might one day produce a personal best, another a performance so poor that when back in the changing rooms have no need to shake out their socks. Let us set up competition between the manic-depressives.