HumpDay Quickie #90

Posted: January 20, 2016 in Hump-Day Quickies
Tags: , , , ,

Practice Makes Perfect

by CR Smith

Friday night was practice night. The excitable rabble, always turned up at the community centre straight after school. They would hurry to get changed and line-up in the corridor, awaiting his instruction. Everyone agreed that, although slightly unorthodox in his methods, Mr Hughes was an excellent teacher, demanding one-hundred-percent commitment from everyone. One pupil – Johnny Finn – managed to get himself sent home several times for not taking the whole thing seriously.

Lessons always began with running on the spot, followed by a series of star-jumps. Mr Hughes said it was to get the blood pumping. He spent plenty of time explaining the technical intricacies of the breast-stroke, the butterfly and the crawl — to mention but a few — and each week highlighted one stroke in particular. Keeping a close eye on his pupil’s movements from the sidelines, any limb he thought wasn’t performing properly would receive a tap from his long-reaching cane.

The pupils gave it their all and when totally worn out by their exertions, Mr Hughes would allow them a short respite, reminding them of his mantra, ‘practice makes perfect.’ Then he’d test them on the length of time they could hold their breathe by sticking their heads in a bucket of water. His lessons briefly touched on diving, but for safety’s sake he could only let his pupils practice jumping onto mats.

These lessons went on for months, until one day Mr Hughes decided they were ready and instructed them to meet him early the next morning at the riverbank. All those weeks spent sliding around on their bellies across the community centre’s floor started to make sense. His pupils looked down into the water lapping at the old wooden jetty and, one by one, dived in, hoping that practice really had made perfect.


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