I was a goody-goody at school; this made receiving my first detention a big shock.
At my Tooting secondary school we had exams for everything: including PE.
PE was not a strength. Give me a ball to hit, kick or head and I’d be fine; get me to vault over anything larger than a matchbox, I wasn’t.
We were about to start a geography exam – I had an image of what an ox-bow lake looked like in my head – when the PE teacher entered to read out the results of the PE exam we’d recently taken:
“Richards, 0%” – you couldn’t even get a mark for writing your name. The consequence of this was a detention.
So, because of my inability to do a forward roll; leap over a buck or climb a rope, I had to spend an hour after school writing “Please give me a rope to climb, because it’s not at all futile” 100-times.
I also had to do a cross-country run – running round Wandsworth Common – seemingly 100-times.
And that was the only punishment I had – I don’t count mental punishment after every parents’ evening – “Michael could do better” and wasn’t Michael told about that later those evenings!
I never got the cane – which was still in use.
However, the only violence I witnessed was, because I was caught singing Wizzard’s Angel Fingers during O-level music revision, a blackboard rubber – hurled at the speed of light, with the accuracy you’d have wanted on The Golden Shot.