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We Are The Champions


Devon Malcolm
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Those little triumphs in life that nobody else cares about or remembers but you have carried with you ever since.

 

Mine are mostly sporting (my MOTM winning spell of 4-3-5-4 in an inter-form cricket match when I was 12 undoubtedly my finest moment) but getting an A+ on an A Level English Language project, leading to accusations of cheating by Nadia Hanley (completely false), was the finest moment of an otherwise uninspired academic career.

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Mine would be when the DartBreak Kid reigned supreme. Hitting a 14 darter on stage at Lakeside when captaining Warwickshire Youth was a fine moment. Although one school related one, I wasn't a good pupil and was always on report. However, when I got a bad remark on my sheet for a lesson, such as missing homework, my report card would go missing. The head of year, who I hated, said to me during a daily bollocking "You have single handedly destroyed the report card system for this school" and I was delighted.

 

I saw him a few years after I left school and was working in a record shop. We had a chat and I was gutted that he was a big Neil Young fan and actually a good bloke.

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Inexplicably was man of the match playing for local team when I was 14 or 15 and a right chubby bastard. Just played really well and frustrated the opposing teams lanky striker (who went on to play for Stoke, albeit in goal, and against Cristiano Ronaldo in his RM debut against Shamrock Rovers) that their manager took him off at halftime to stop him being sent off.

 

I resumed being shite, and slicing clearances out for corners and heading in OG's the next week.

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I won the junior school contest for the best project about the police. The prize was a Yorkie bar, some of which ended up smeared on the project via a fingerprint.

 

I won the junior school times tables content. The prize was an Easter egg.

 

There was a pattern to my motivation as a child.

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I was working this shitty zero hour contract in a hotel doing odd jobs in the mornings.

Was my first paid bit of work and generally the whole thing gave me anxiety out every orifice.

On my first day, the boss fucking wrecked my confidence. I was getting used to the bar, casually cleaning out an ale pipe as instructed. All of a sudden he decides to scream in front of the other staff for me to "show some enthusiasm!"...for pipes?

I was too much on good behaviour to retort and I hated myself for it. Ditto every time he pointlessly belittled me from that point on.

I'd more than clocked him for what he was though, a nasty little speccy surly middle aged wanker who wished he was taller than about 5'3, with his pointlessly gelled hair and his creeping round the female staff.

So when I heard he was sacked for shagging the 18 year old cleaner it was like so many victories at once. I went down into the booze cellar and was just like "YEEAAAAH!", taking selfies n shit. Best work day ever. His successor had the basic people skills to assign tasks and not be a total cunt about it, so it was a huge weight lifted off me at the time.

 

Sure, he would have waltzed into another kushty managerial role elsewhere, and I went on to have a breakdown regardless and still live in squalor, but if there was ever a little victory that meant the most.

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I was all set to be team captain on University Challenge, and then the unit revealed that they should have excluded people who were still there for the qualification but would have graduated by the time the show was ready to film. The registrar even asked me to take a one-semester course just to stay eligible, but I couldn't wait to leave Wales. That would have been my crowning moment.

 

I think out of the things that actually happened, it was getting 1.6 billion on Data East Star Wars pinball - played for hours on one credit, and then had to leave, handed over my 30 replays to some awestruck kid.

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It's either being the only one to 100% the Level one Graded French tests in school or setting the record for highest amount of collections during Academy in my last job. The previous record was about £12,000 and I got £27,000. Unfortunately I wasn't there much longer after that as I had quite a bit going on at home and it all took its toll on me.

 

I'm also a bit proud of when I managed to get the second highest score on the year 9 Spanish exam, even though I'd been doing Spanish for an hour a week for two years compared the the other side of the year who did 3 hours of Spanish a week.

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I was all set to be team captain on University Challenge, and then the unit revealed that they should have excluded people who were still there for the qualification but would have graduated by the time the show was ready to film. The registrar even asked me to take a one-semester course just to stay eligible, but I couldn't wait to leave Wales. That would have been my crowning moment.

 

You've got your priorities all wrong there, I'm afraid. The 'unit' (by which I presume you mean your Student Union) was only following the rules because the show does follow them to the letter, and your team could've been disqualified if you were no longer registered at your institution.

 

Besides, studying in Wales was great in my experience.

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I was all set to be team captain on University Challenge, and then the unit revealed that they should have excluded people who were still there for the qualification but would have graduated by the time the show was ready to film. The registrar even asked me to take a one-semester course just to stay eligible, but I couldn't wait to leave Wales. That would have been my crowning moment.

 

You've got your priorities all wrong there, I'm afraid. The 'unit' (by which I presume you mean your Student Union) was only following the rules because the show does follow them to the letter, and your team could've been disqualified if you were no longer registered at your institution.

 

Besides, studying in Wales was great in my experience.

 

 

Typo (don't think my yank phone liked "uni", which is what I meant to say) — I don't blame them, just wish they'd made that clear.

 

I found that the Welsh university experience turned people into terrible pedants, something against which I struggled constantly.

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Typo (don't think my yank phone liked "uni", which is what I meant to say) — I don't blame them, just wish they'd made that clear.

 

I found that the Welsh university experience turned people into terrible pedants, something against which I struggled constantly.

I see. So the uni itself actually got involved – or at least took an interest – in the selection process? That's more help than I had, especially the first time I applied (never had any designs on the captaincy in my case, mind). Everything was left for the SU to organise.

 

Ha, but also: nah. I was already a pedant before I got to uni. I left armed with more knowledge with which to be a pedant, and had been hoping to meet like-minded people, but to be honest the fellow graduates I'm still in touch with don't seem to engage in correcting people. Apparently expectations of accuracy are uncool, impolite and antisocial, even among kids on a three- or four-year rite of passage binge through academia. Keep kidding yourself that the fact that the world is going to shit is unrelated to this if it makes you feel better.

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I got 12 consecutive gold stars on Creative English work in primary school, a record I might add that stands today (probably, I haven't bothered checking). Not only did I get a certificate of excellence at the end of the week PPV level assembly, I also won the award for creative writing at the end of year WrestleMania assembly. That award had been donated by my Gran (a teacher there years prior) and thus had her (and my) surname. Queue howls of nepotism (or rather, "you're a granny basher") from other people in my year. Fuck them, my stories about dragons and 10 year old lyric poetry were shit hot. 

Edited by Gus Mears
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