Poor old (young) footballers suffering from the hollered jeers of fans, and every empathy to them, but as I was blogging the other day, you don’t have to be a sports hero, nor a different colour, to suffer this strange form of abuse.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Soxy ... Had the tramping socks I loved been quite a spectacular as these, and had I been able to wear them as sportingly, perhaps envy might have masked the mocking. Photo by DeMorris Byrd on Unsplash
Footie stars are constantly under attack from fans of ‘the other side’, but among more recent outbursts of bias came racist chants.

I was bemoaning the abuse flung my way after the family emigrated Down Under, me a neatly uniformed lad with a posh school accent.

Verbal attacks

My new classmates certainly did not approve, and let me know it.

Another round of unnerving verbal attacks happened a few years later, on Day 1 at my first high school.

But first let me thank Patricia Vytlacil from the Mid-West across the Pond. Patricia moved to the US quite along time ago from kiwiland.

She recalls newcomers arriving at her school in Wanganui, in the North Island, where it seems the attitude to kids from abroad could hardly have been more different.

An enchanted life

‘I suspect I lived an enchanted life in a small town in the North Island of NZ compared to your experience as an immigrant kid in the South Island.

‘At our high school, we occasionally had students visit from the UK or even the USA and they were greeted with quite some excitement. How we envied their exotic accents!!

‘Perhaps it was just me super-conscious of our kiwi accent that seemed somehow inferior to one from overseas - anywhere overseas,’ writes Patricia.

Pretty impressed

... that had little effect upon the lusty young country girls who kept it up from one term to the next, and even cast it my way on my last day at that school ...

‘But I like to think the rest of our class was pretty impressed by the foreigners also! It was not just their accents but the fact that they had experienced a life clearly different from ours.

My own attacks fell away almost as soon as I learned to exchange my accent for the local version of English. However, a few years later when I moved into high school in a country town, a fresh and new outburst of mocking began almost immediately.

It’s doubly interesting to hear Patricia’s experience because the new mocking came almost exclusively from girls.

By that time, I was a passionate hill walker, tramping is the name of the sport over there, and I made the grave mistake of wearing the thick socks essential for tramping boots.

Pubescent young farming girls, obviously non-trampers themselves, made this pre-pubescent lad’s days an absolute misery. ‘Bed socks!’ was the cry flung my way in classrooms, across playgrounds, while getting onto the school bus.

I must have been a slow learner, or perhaps I just loved the socks too much, but it took three or four days before I accepted that I must never wear them to school again.

Of course, that had little effect upon the lusty young country girls who kept it up from one term to the next, and even cast it my way on my last day at that school when thankfully my parents moved us all to the province’s capital.

Thanks very much for visiting the mostly Tuesday and Thursday blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, which are introduced each time on Facebook Facebook dot com/Sailingtopurgatory and on Blogger,

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The blogs for Sailing to Purgatory are introduced on Facebook and Blogger.