This is a true story but the names have been changed if you recognise yourself then it’s probably you 🙂 Every school has a bully, ours was called Mr Trudd he was around forty five, we were twelve-years-old. He had a size ten plimsoll, we had our backsides. This was the 70’s so it was OK to beat us or cane us, it kept us in line 🙂
This wasn’t the problem, we were from a Bradford council estate so we spent a fair bit of time beating each other. No, the problem was his intolerance of the weak and the ‘different.’ He was our P.E teacher and my personal battle began on a sunny afternoon in the Gym. Mr Trudd loved circuit training and there appeared to be a hold up at the rope climbing exercise. I took a wander over and there was George, he was a rotund kid who obviously had some form of affliction, I mean this wasn’t overeating he was literally round. Mr Trudd was beating him with a wooden wedge because George wouldn’t climb the rope, as if he could, I mean he could hardly get out of a chair. But, he was holding up the circuit (a ‘Mr Trudd’ mortal sin). There was something about this poor little fat kid with red face, red eyes and tears streaming down his face that made Jack very angry, remember Jack 🙂
I have no idea what was in my head at the time, but I said. “I’ll climb it Sir, he’s holding up the line!” Trudd turned, George ran off and I climbed. When I got to the top I pulled myself over the beam and shouted down that I was stuck. OMG! Two hold ups in a matter of minutes. Trudds head became quite red and he began to shout. “What do you mean your stuck, lad?” “Don’t know Sir, I’m stuck.” “Un-bloody-stick yourself and get down here!” “Can’t Sir, I’m stuck.” This continued for about five minutes until he sent his star climber to help me down. Trudd had a quandary, he couldn’t beat me as it appeared to be some sort of emergency, so he announced the emergency was over and we resumed.
Now this episode gave me ideas. It wasn’t a conscious thing it was done on impulse, but I began to wage a war of non-conformity. Mr Trudd was like the P.E teacher in ‘Kes.’ but with an evil streak. When we played cricket in the school yard I hit the ball over the wall, a crime that got you sent off, but held up the game. In circuit training the line was held up constantly due to my mishaps 🙂 I got stuck on the bar, I fell off the horse, I tripped when we ran up and down the hall bringing everyone down behind me and on the high jump after knocking off the bar I lay motionless until Mr Trudd helped me to my feet. George had become insignificant 🙂 Then I made a fatal error, I was by far the best distance runner in the class. One day as I entered the home straight a hundred yards in front of everyone else and Trudd shouting encouragement I slowed down to cross the finish line 5th or 6th. That was too obvious; that deserved a beating 🙂 I began to think that maybe I couldn’t win so I told my Dad about his treatment of us all and he promptly wrote to the Headmaster, who showed the letter to Trudd. The next P.E lesson Trudd hauled me out in front of the class and said that I wouldn’t be doing P.E anymore until he had a letter of apology from my Dad. So that was the end of my athletic career.
But, in spite of Mr Trudd I came back eventually 🙂