* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

Beat the Mongol

12 August 2002
Victor knows it's wrong, but it makes him feel better.

Every year for nearly ten I dreaded them: the 5k cross-country run in the Autumn term, Sports Day in the Summer. Inevitable presences - the pit and the pendulum. Identified on my arrival as one of the bright kids I had immediately been branded as not very sporty. I wasn't even the proverbial "last to be picked". I just didn't get picked. Even fat Sophie got picked.

It was a vicious cycle. I wasn't very good so nobody took the trouble to teach me to play football, rugby, tennis, squash, badminton, to run, jump or throw things. Nobody took the trouble to teach me, so I wasn't very good at playing football, rugby, tennis, squash, badminton, running, jumping or throwing things. So it goes.

It wasn't that people told me I wasn't very good. It was precisely because they didn't tell me anything, because I was passed over when others were allowed their moments of glory, that the fear set in. After years of confidence bashing I started to weasel out, even feigning a congenital heart problem in order to be signed off sick from the 1992 cross-country.

Sports Day was slightly different. I could "do" Sports Day without actually doing very much. I managed to get myself off sick once, only to find that I faced the ritual humiliation of helping with the announcements and teas in my school uniform, when everyone else was wearing their gym kit. By the next year I had realised that if I entered myself for the Shotput, I wouldn't have to do anything more skilful. I was terrible at that too, incidentally. But that didn't matter - it served my purposes.

This is how it came to be that I embarked on my adult life without any sporting talent or enjoyment whatsoever. It's also how I decided on my career. Never again would I come last at a school Sports Day.

* * *

I am Headmaster of a well-respected special school on the South Coast. In a woodland setting my highly-qualified team of teachers strives to draw out the potential of youngsters with learning difficulties. Our aim is to provide every pupil with the wherewithal to stand on their own two feet in the outside world. Every effort is made to operate according to the routine of mainstream schooling. So, we have a rather raucous May Fair, a most entertaining school play, Harvest Festival, Christmas dinner, and Sports Day.

Last year, as part of my own initiative to break down barriers between the teachers and the children, I organised a staff-pupil 4x100m relay race. It was my prerogative as Head to take the last leg. The other members of the team, who had originally been appointed to their posts on the basis of their sporting prowess, were carefully selected by me - two ex-sprinters and an England winger. There was talk amongst the three of how they would slow down to give the kids a chance. I had other plans. Victory was within my grasp. To secure success I determined on a few slight modifications.

Running against children with various strains of palsy posed very few problems. Some of them had very limited movement, and could therefore be selected for the pupils' team on that basis. But with Down's Syndrome children it is a different story. Many of those with the condition are physically able and at times quite fast. Not many people know, however, that their comparatively short life expectancy is due to the fact that they have very weak hearts.

Kevin was the school's star sportsman. Despite having Down's he could run the 200 in under 30 seconds - too fast for my comfort. So I brought in some ankle and wrist weights that my wife had used in the nineties with her Mr Motivator videos. Fitting them to Kevin's bloated, stunted limbs I reassured him that although they were heavy they were in fact special go-faster rocket packs that would be activated if he ran over twenty miles an hour. If the weights didn't slow him down, striving to run at that pace would.

On the day itself my three team mates ran admirably and set me up perfectly. Kevin was pitted against me in the last leg, and came out of the changeover very strongly. But as the tenths of seconds passed, out of the corner of my eye I saw him struggling. As I raised my arms flying through the line, feeling that unprecedented surge of victory, my rival's fell down towards the track.

The boy died (he was never going to live that long anyway). I won. It was great.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
27 October 2003. Victor writes: Our Tune
6 October 2003. Victor writes: Sucking face (in a public place)
15 September 2003. Victor writes: You got any ID?
25 August 2003. Victor writes: Blood on the Boulevard
4 August 2003. Victor writes: In (paren)theses
10 July 2003. Victor writes: Island Fling
19 June 2003. Victor writes: Back (back) and forth (and forth)
2 June 2003. Victor writes: 300 clowns, 13 eight-year olds
12 May 2003. Victor writes: The swings and roundabouts of outrageous fortune
21 April 2003. Victor writes: ...just sitting there quietly contemplating suicide
31 March 2003. Victor writes: Victoria
6 March 2003. Victor writes: Relevant experience
17 February 2003. Victor writes: You will eat chips and go nowhere
27 January 2003. Victor writes: A bushy fish for fishy Mr Bush (after Juvenal)
6 January 2003. Victor writes: The Accidental Voyeur
16 December 2002. Victor writes: Gripper goes bang
25 November 2002. Victor writes: Bediquette
4 November 2002. Victor writes: Where have all the spastics gone?
14 October 2002. Victor writes: An Immodest Proposal
23 September 2002. Victor writes: Fastscan masterplan
2 September 2002. Victor writes: Dry Humping Social Club
12 August 2002. Victor writes: Beat the Mongol
22 July 2002. Victor writes: What life is not
1 July 2002. Victor writes: Stupor heroes
6 June 2002. Victor writes: Dry
13 May 2002. Victor writes: Muppet Suite
18 April 2002. Victor writes: gingermingeninja
25 March 2002. Victor writes: Sodomize with Pukka Pies
28 February 2002. Victor writes: Dave's problem
4 February 2002. Victor writes: King of the Aisles
10 January 2002. Victor writes: Here come the decorator gimps.
17 December 2001. Victor writes: Make war, not supper.
22 November 2001. Victor writes: Cough
29 October 2001. Victor writes:
4 October 2001. Victor writes: Green Gauges
10 September 2001. Victor writes: Blind weed
16 August 2001. Victor writes: Snout!
23 July 2001. Victor writes: You're not going to put this in a clown are you?
28 June 2001. Victor writes: What is a droll?
4 June 2001. Victor writes: Burt Pakamak
10 May 2001. Victor writes: Board to Death
12 April 2001. Victor writes: Tricolon with anaphora?
22 March 2001. Victor writes: Point of View
26 February 2001. Victor writes: Goth's Dinner
1 Feburary 2001. Victor writes: Les Miserables
4 January 2001. Victor writes: Flat-packed furniture
14 December 2000. Victor writes: Deliverance
20 November 2000. Victor writes: Bottomry: Exorcising Ghosts
26 October 2000. Victor writes: Body Art
2 October 2000. Victor writes: Disney must die
7 September 2000. Victor writes: Ice-cream in Offworld
14 August 2000. Victor writes: I like sweets that taste of medicine
26 June 2000. Victor writes: I've seen the future, and it's feathered

Let meeeeeee entertain you

We are all Upsideclown: Dan, George, James, Jamie, Matt, Neil, Victor.

Material is (c) respective authors. For everything else, there's

Never come here again

And weeeeeee can entertain you by email too. Get fresh steaming Upsideclown in your inbox Mondays and Thursdays, and you'll never need to visit this website again. To subscribe, send the word subscribe in the body of your mail to (To unsubscribe, send the word unsubscribe instead.)


... On this page: ... Archive ... About ... Subscribe ... ... Upsideclone