School Days 3

In the 70s, corporal punishment was allowed, and I was 'sentenced' to two belts from a large leather strap.

I, like most young boys, loved playtime at school, the chance to run around, make as much noise as I wanted and to play football.

We played a strange variation of football where we all put our school bags on the ground and each one was a goal. We had to both defend this goal and try to tackle the others to score goals by kicking the ball and hitting someone else’s bag. Competition was intense.

We never played with the girls and always kept ourselves to ourselves. But, one lunchtime, the ball was kicked slightly further away than normal and before one of us could retrieve it, a girl picked it up and ran off with it. We were not standing for that, so I ran after her and eventually caught up with her, bringing her crashing to the ground with a superb rugby tackle to the lower legs. I reclaimed our ball and continued with our game.

Time for us to get our school lunch came, eat it and then we returned to finish our game before the start of the afternoon session.

We returned to the classroom and started to settle down to another boring English or History lesson. After a few minutes, the door opened and the head of our year walked in, whispered to the teacher who then called my name. I was escorted along the corridor to his office where the girl I had rugby-tackled earlier was sitting sobbing her heart out. It still didn’t really sink in that this was a result of something I had done. I was asked what had happened and gave my version of events, which ended in something like, “well, it was her own fault, she shouldn’t have taken our ball”.

In the 70s, corporal punishment was allowed, and I was ‘sentenced’ to two belts from a large leather strap. I held out my hand; the strap came down with a loud smack and nothing. The strap was raised again and a second loud smack and again nothing, no pain, red marks, nothing!

The year teacher said that this should be a lesson to me not to do it again, so he felt satisfied, I felt nothing, but the girl never stole our ball again.

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