Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sepia Saturday 364 : The Disappointing Spartan


Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week is a photograph taken at a school sports day in Carshalton back in 1907. The subject instantly rang bells in what is left of my photographic memory - I remember taking a series of photographs at my own school sports day way back in 1966. If I had been a different person, no doubt I would have been kitted out in shorts and running shoes, my lungs gasping for that last breath of oxygen to power me towards the finishing line. But I was not that kind of kid. I far preferred to wander around the sport's field, camera in hand, taking photographs of my school friends and any pretty girl I might pass.

Just in case there is anyone out there who might recognise themselves - the date was, I think, 1966. The school was the Crossley and Porter School in Halifax and the sports day was being held at the Spring Hall Athletics Ground in Halifax.


It was an inter-house competition - the four houses in the boy's side of the school (Trojans, Vikings, Paladins and Spartans) would compete for points that would contribute to an ornate inter-house trophy. I was a Spartan, and Spartans had a long and fine reputation of being a sporting house. I was a disappointment.

​I seem to recall that the last race of the day was an open long-distance race and houses could enter as many runners as they could muster. A point would be gained for the house for each competitor who made it to the finishing line, irrespective of their finishing positions. Towards the close of proceedings House Masters would patrol the sports field in order to press-gang unwilling entrants. It was at this time that I, along with a coterie of other sporting disappointments, would head for safe hiding havens. Ah, school days - the best years of our life!

To see what others were up to on their school sports days - go to the Sepia Saturday Blog and follow the links.


11 comments:

  1. Hi Alan...you were the artistic type of student, I can tell. Nice to see you posting first this week! Love the shots of all the students being adolescent and post adolescent people...about to become some firmer form of themselves.

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  2. A nostalgic look back, as it reminded me of myself at school in the 1960's in York. I was intrigued by the names of your houses - they sounded quite aggressive. At my school, the houses were named after women we were supposed to look up to - Bronte, Anderson, Somerville and one other I can't remember!

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  3. Wonderful photographs! But was it usually, generally speaking, a cold gray day for sporting events in your 'neck of the woods'? The girls in the prompt pic were obviously watching or competing in sports on what appears to be a rainy day.

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    1. Yes, is my answer to your question on sports day weather. It has to be pouring down to be cancelled. I hated hockey and have memories of playing it on dreicht grey, drizzly, muddy days.

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  4. Oh this brings back painful memories of running. I hated running. I was a terrible runner. I was SLOW. In gym class, we often had to run the track. To "inspire" us to hurry up, our teacher would give the last 3 girls to come in a 0. Thank-goodness there were girls in my class who didn't really care if they got a 0 for the day.

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  5. I was in Raleigh house (red) at one school. The other houses were Scott (yellow) and Drake (green or blue) and another I can't remember (blue or green). At boarding school I was in Beaufort (blue). The others houses were Holford (black) Dorchester (purple) Badminton (green) and Sedgwick (gold). These were all names associated with the Holford family who built the school building. Their London house was where the Dorchester hotel is now. And no. I was astonishingly unsporty. My best sport was the egg and spoon race.

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  6. Great photos and memories. I was skinny and long legged therefore they kept telling me I should be a good runner. I had little stamina but did OK in the 60 yard dash. Nice to read everyone's memories here.

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  7. Attended a private school in Portland, Maine (Waynflete); in the early 60s I was a field hockey goalie (the only position where you didn't have to run a lot -- and that explains that, doesn't it?)

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  8. Being a musician in the band was my excuse for avoiding sports. Instead I got to play inspiring tunes to encourage our team to Victory! (or at least a less ignoble defeat.) If only I'd known about the advantages of being a photographer!

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  9. Oh Alan...these are by far the best photos I have seen in ages....you have inspired me to try and find a bad copy of a photo of me taking photos at sports events too. I was NOT sporty in the least.

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  10. Just for a moment I thought that was you on the track, then I read your post and it sounded more like it. I too hated sports day, though I wasn't too bad at egg and spoon and skipping races.

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