Rampaging Rugby: Horrible Histories for sport
As a hyperactive kid, sport was one of my handiest outlets. Not only was it the only time of day I was allowed to run about the place shouting, I was also quite good at some of it, which was nice because my brother and sister were both well-behaved at school and quite brainy.
I, on the other hand, used to have to come in half an hour early and lie on the classroom floor – ostensibly to calm down but it also prevented me winding all the other kids up just before lessons started. Most of the rest of the day was fidgety torture as I sat at the front of the class with steam coming out of my ears.
Then, aged eleven, I got hooked by reading. Within the space of the fortnight where I whipped through Danny the Champion of the World, followed by White Fang, I discovered that I had another tool in arsenal to stave off boredom and the desire to stress test inanimate objects and adult patience. Reading was the only time I could sit quietly and be at peace with the world. And myself.
But, although I pretty much read anything, I didn’t get on with sports books. With the exception of Wisden whose stats appealed to me, books about plucky boys picked in the last five minutes to score an unlikely goal, or how to play better ping pong, improve your golf swing or learn the offside rule bored me witless.
And so my two great loves never had their tryst, and I accepted that the differences were too great.
Writing Stupendous Sports, starting with Rampaging Rugby, the catalyst was humour. And I am indebted to Terry Deary who proved that with comedy, you can bind two opposing houses: he did it with history and I’m doing it with sport.
Stupendous Sports isn’t meant for grownups to show kids how to play, I wrote it to show kids (any kids) that sport can be fun AND funny.
It really is just a game and – as is the case with all the best sports – it’s about how you play and why you play more than who wins and what tribe you belong to.
Sport is vitally important because it isn’t serious.
It is an outlet that is as essential to some as reading is to others. I hope the scrawny version of me who pulled on wet rugby boots after school and scampered out to play in the precious, dying light would approve.
Thank you Robin for writing for us! Robin has also recorded a short video for us, which you’ll find on our YouTube channel.