From the moment I felt the enormous lump erupting preposterously outwards above my eyebrow, I knew it was time to call it a day. This latest injury would be the last – because despite my deep and enduring love for it, sport’s increasingly violent rejection of me was proving too much to bear.
Everyone else in this city makes it look so easy; a day spent paddleboarding, peppered with laughter; getting hot and sweaty with a kickboxing class, frolicking with the fish on a long scuba diving weekend. But while they end the day with the glow of fantastic memories made, I’m lucky to get out with just an ego that’s as bloodied and bruised as my shins.
Sure, there were good times in the beginning. I captained my high school field hockey team until a flimsy pair of shin pads and a wandering mouthguard came between us. And so began ten long years of misfortune.
Today, I can’t set my posterior on a bicycle without instantly finding myself in a crumpled oily heap beneath it. Or go snorkelling without swimming into the middle of an Armageddon-like swarm of tentacle-flailing jellyfish. Or sign up for netball without setting fire to myself. Or something. And if you thought watching sport on TV was safe – the last time I went to watch the Premier League in my local pub, someone accidentally put a cigarette out on my hand.
Even roping in more sport-savvy associates isn’t enough. Hitting the baby slopes at Ski Dubai seemed fool-proof, and after an extremely cautious descent during which I was overtaken by four geriatrics, two toddlers and a sloth, I even made it safely to the bottom. Sadly, my victory shimmy was interrupted when moments later my significant other, a seasoned basketball player and Burj Khalifa of a man, came careering down the slope. I stood as much chance as a ferret against a fire hose, and flew several impressive metres before face-planting in the snow. Round 672 to sport.
But frankly, I spend too much time at The Cheesecake Factory to give up on my athletic frenemy just yet. It could just be an unlucky decade, or perhaps I’ve just been choosing the wrong pursuit – either way, it’s probably wise to put any ambitions of becoming a world-class fencer on ice. Anyone for shark diving?