Let’s play tennis, he said.

Yes, I said, grabbing hold of the racquets and a ball, unaware that this was going to be the shortest tennis match in history.

I was about 9 years old, my best friend Mathew was about 8. We were going to play tennis in front of our homes on a housing estate in the mid-1980s. I’d stand on one side of the road, and Mathew on the other; the road would be our tennis court.


So, with racquet in hand, I ran across the road toward the opposite side of the street. The road had recently been resurfaced, and my feet slipped on some loose stones.

I fell.


My right arm was broken, the bone snapped in half.

I got up, grabbed my right arm with my left hand, and silently ran home, leaving Mathew standing there, wondering what was going on.

My mum was on the sofa watching TV, when I barged in, letting go of my right arm, and announcing “I’ve broken my arm, look it twists the wrong way!”

At the hospital, while the nurses put a plaster cast on my arm (I can still smell it now, the fresh plaster) the man in the next bed, dressed in bike leathers, was shouting out in agony while they fixed his broken leg.

I spent six weeks with my arm in a cast. I was given a new bike for my birthday, but couldn’t ride it, so my parents also gave me a consolation gift; a Star Wars TIE fighter.

Breaking my arm was worth it after all.

I have a small scar on my arm, where the bone poked through my skin as it snapped. Ouch.

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