This entry is inspired by local author Simon Inglis’s book “Played in London”, a beautifully illustrated, comprehensive survey of London’s sporting stadiums, grounds and venues. If you have started thinking about buying Christmas presents, this should go on your list.
From my casual criss-crossing of the Green I have observed a multiplicity of sports and games and have probably missed out on many others; here they are in alphabetical order.
Young Australians holding the ball in one hand, kicking it to improbable heights and catching it. Australians never seem to drop a catch even when holding a cigarette in one hand.
OK, not much and not often, but for honing skills on a bumpy pitch the Green is right up there.
All you need is a ball; it is played by all ages, male and female, organised, unorganised and disorganised. The replica shirts come from all over the world.
A plastic disc and hours of simple pleasure
Yes, really. I saw a group of young men brandishing putters round a course made up of plastic shopping bags for the holes. See Football for problems with the surface.
Goes on all over the Green, in the play space, and along the newly installed exercise trail. In the dog-free area you can see free-form and floor exercises from a variety of disciplines.
See above. Many personal trainers take their clients on to the grass for extensive workouts.
Nameless games the children play
Even if there are only two of them, the leader sets the objectives, the rules and the scoring system. These are flexible and incomprehensible to outsiders and usually to the participants as well.
Much to be encouraged. A stick to be waved and a pet dog adds to the fun.
Since the nearby gym opened, this has been greatly on the increase. For the less fit, the benches come in handy.
Again the dog-free area comes into use at Love Parks Week sports day and when local schools have their big day out. I watched a yellow-bibbed two lap race. “Come on Melvin, you’re not tired” said a teacher. Melvin was tired.
With the addition of the cemetery beyond, this is an urban delight for recreational, constitutional or socialising walks.
A terrific attraction at the Jester Festival using an artificial rock face and automatic safety ropes.
Untaught children climb beautifully.
Every now and then the trees, benches and railings mysteriously appear wound about and decorated with beautifully knitted yarns. A Japanese version has even been seen. Who does it? Who are they? Who knows?
All you need is loose clothing, yourself and a certain degree of unselfconsciousness.
OK, so what have I left out? Even as I write I think of kite flying. Answers on a postcard please.
- Ted Booth (Guest Blogger)
Scene on the