Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Monday, October 14, 2002

My Dougal...
When I was nine years old I built a model Dougal to enter into a Cub Scout model making competition. I made it out of cardboard boxes, old newspapers and a lot of artistic licence. I wasn't a very good model maker but I had had a secret plan that would guarantee me first place in the competition. What my model may have lacked in artistic flare it was going to make up for in size. Using the maxim that bigger is better my Dougal was going to be HUGE.

It took me three full days to make. It ended up being four feet high, six feet long and two feet wide. It was truly a monster. When collapsed down it only just about fitted in my parent's stationwagon.

The day of the event arrived and we drove full of high hopes with my Dougal packed safely in the back. At the event itself we borrowed a step-ladder to assemble my Dougal and it was undoubtable the stand-out attraction of the competition. Everyone came to have a look. I just knew I was going to win. Big is best, right? However fate was not on my side. The judges made there tour and a hush descended as the winner was announced. And it wasn't me! It was some stupid boy with his Airfix model of a Spitfire! I was outraged. A rumour quickly spread around the room (spread mainly by me in a very loud stage whisper) that his Dad had helped him build the model plane (strictly against the rules) but no avail. No rejudgement was announced. I am not proud of what happened next.

I wish I could say I shook hands with the winner and was gracious in defeat but sadly that is far, far from the truth. I went beetroot in colour and threw a tantrum. A big one. First I cried. Loudly. My parents tried to comfort me but I was having none of it. Then I grumpily kicked my Dougal. Gently at first but then again a bit harder. And then again harder still. Everyone was looking. Then I set about it with such ferocity that in minutes it lay in pieces. I'd kicked in half way round the room and my Dougal lay at my feet. Dead. I then fell upon it and burst into tears of inconsolable misery. I could see other parents ushering their children aware from this dangerous child psychopath as my Dad gathered me up and gave me a rare hug. Probably reckoning on smothering the howling noise I was making as much as anything else. I remember little of the journey home.

I never entered a Cub Scout competition again. And I still bear the emotional scars from that second place red rosette that my mother rescued from my flattened giant Dougal as we left. I've never apologised to my parents for the scene I created that day. Perhaps I really should.

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