Gloating after a hockey match spells trouble.

By Joanna Jones

I went to a girls’ boarding school in the south of England. The school, like many, was very into team sports, and hockey in particular. We regularly finished near the top of the inter-school league and usually did well in the schools’ knockout cup too.

In my final year we had a particularly strong team and were second in the league. The main reason we were not top was a defeat to the only other boarding school in the county, about twenty miles away, with whom we had an intense rivalry. That derby defeat had hurt, and the fact that they were one place above us in the league and, near the end of the season, a ‘shoo-in’ for the title did not help.

As luck would have it we were drawn to face them at home in the semi-final of the cup. All of us, like them too I would guess, were desperate to make the final, particularly as for the majority of us there would be no further chances as virtually our entire team was from the upper sixth. The final was a special day out with lots of treats included, supplied by some sponsors, and a post-match dinner dance giving an excuse to invite partners. Apart from the opportunity to win the cup, it was thus something nobody wanted to miss out on!

The match was a very tense affair with a goalless first half. Then after a short corner early in the second half we found ourselves a goal down. Most of the rest of the half involved us camped in their half of the pitch as we desperately tried to get back on level terms, but their defence was excellent. However, then, with about three minutes to go I managed to get a pass off to Liz, who was also my best friend, and she put it in the back of the net. Suddenly, from looking at a painful elimination we were now back in the cup!

I suspect our rivals went to sleep a bit, shocked at losing a goal so late, and now contemplating a replay on their home turf the following week. Certainly their defender let me past far too easily a couple of minutes later, and my squared ball to Jane, our captain, led to her putting the ball in the net with only seconds to play. We had won a great turnaround victory.

With such a dramatic result, emotions ran high at the end. While we hugged in ecstasy many of our rivals were in tears. In the changing rooms we were still full of ourselves. This culminated in us singing a victory song in the showers.

The away team was using the other changing room and there was only a thin partition between us and them in the shower area. Thus our jubilation was clearly audible. Liz suggested we should perhaps tone it down a little, but Jane pointed out that they had not been very sympathetic when we’d lost a few months before (which was true). Instead she led various chants rubbing in our victory over them. Now I would say it was all rather childish, but at the time we were carried away with the elation of having got to the final so dramatically.

Suddenly the showers went ice cold. As we screeched with the shock I noticed Mrs Bridges, our hockey coach and Games Mistress, standing angrily at the shower entrance.

Along I suspect with every other eye, my sight rested on the large ‘man’s’ size twelve plimsoll in her hand. Once she was satisfied that we were all fully rinsed off of soap and shampoo, and that we had fully calmed down, she turned the cold water off too.

She was furious; we were given a lecture for what seemed an age on sportsmanlike behaviour, the school reputation, how ashamed she was, et cetera. All the time we stood there naked and shivering.

Finally she got to the point. She was going to slipper the lot of us. It was clear we were not going to get the opportunity to even partially clothe ourselves first. Although spankings ‘on the bare’ were rare at our school, they certainly were not totally unheard of in PE if people happened to be in that state at the ‘wrong moment’.

Jane, who was never short of a word, then said: “Please, we’re all sixth formers. Perhaps we were a bit stupid, but surely we are too old to be slippered!”

My personal thought was that Jane should shut up. I could think of much worse and more inconvenient punishments an angry teacher could impose. However, there were quite a few nods of support from others. I waited for Mrs Bridges to explode, but instead she seemed to take a very reasonable, almost enticing view.

“Hmmm! Perhaps you are too old to be slippered. How many of you agree with Jane here?”

Seven of the thirteen (which included substitutes) hands went up immediately without thinking. The rest of us hesitated. I looked at Liz. Her hand stayed firmly down and I followed suit. I had a strong suspicion that we were not going to go unpunished, and personally I preferred to get it over with rather than detentions (where there was a chance of getting whacked in any case) or spending Saturdays cleaning the gym floor or some other chore. I also knew that, while rare, slipperings were not unheard of for sixth formers; one reason I had looked at Liz was that she’d been slippered only a couple of weeks ago for leaving her side of our shared room a mess once too often. None of the remaining six of us who thought about it declared ourselves too old for her punishment.

“Very well, you seven wait over there and I will decide on an alternative more suited to your age.” Then to the six of us she said: “Right you lot. Get in a line facing that wall and grab your ankles.”

Soon there were six of us, still naked, with our bottoms in the air. I was fourth in the row.

All too soon I heard the slap of that size twelve plimsoll on bare flesh, coupled with grunts gasps and the odd wail as she progressed along the line giving six to each waiting bottom.

After eighteen slaps to my left, during which my nerves gradually increased, I felt her come up behind me.

SLAP!

I bit my lip. I had forgotten how much a slippering could sting. Each SLAP increased the sting and burning in my rear end, especially as my bottom was bare. Although I did manage not to cry there were quite a few grunts and gasps as the six SLAPS impacted on my read end. The last two were right on my thigh tops and were excruciating. I felt as if I was about to unbalance, given the force she hit me with.

After she had moved on I desperately wanted to stand, but knew to keep a tight grip. Dully I was aware that the noise of the slippering, and of course of our discomfort, was no doubt carrying through to the other changing room, which was no doubt our teacher’s intention.

Finally she finished. She ordered us to go and get changed and we trooped out with pained faces; six pairs of hands cradling six rather sore bottoms. I got a good glimpse of Liz’s bright red buttocks with additional blotches where the plimsoll edges had left marks that would bruise. I knew mine must look the same.

Meanwhile Mrs Bridges had turned to face the seven girls waiting, still damp and naked, in the corner of the shower room.

“So,” she said. “You require a punishment more suited to the sixth form?” It was a rhetorical question of course.

She paused, then continued. “Well in my view the best solution then is a good caning!”

There were gasps from both us ‘slippered six’ (with relief mixed into our surprise) as we, rubbing our well smacked bottoms, began to get changed, but much more loudly from the seven remaining in the showers. I am sure I heard exclamations of surprise from the other changing room too.

The pleas of the rest of the team were cut short very quickly. Mrs Bridges was adamant that the cane was certainly a most suitable punishment for a senior girl in trouble, and the debate effectively ended when she warned Sally that any further pleading would result in her getting a slippering AFTER her caning.

Soon seven girls were bent over in a line in the shower area, while Mrs Bridges went to fetch a cane. The six of us could see them through the entrance waiting nervously in their row. Two of my team-mates seemed to be already crying. The only sounds were from the other changing rooms where our opponents were relatively quietly, but quite audibly, discussing the sore bottoms that we already had and how many strokes those waiting were going to get. Embarrassing for those of us with burning backsides, but purgatory I thought for the seven currently grasping their ankles.

Mrs Bridges was away for what seemed like an age. I heard Sally whisper to Jane, who was at the end of the row of seven: “I wonder what’s keeping her, she has a cane in her office doesn’t she?”

I had a shrewd suspicion why, which was confirmed when the teacher arrived back carrying a thick three foot long rod.

“Sorry to keep you waiting girls,” said our PE teacher rather too brightly to the seven proffered backsides. “I needed to fetch a proper senior cane suitable for you sixth formers from Mr Carter.” (our headmaster)

There were many groans and wails from near the floor of the showers as they took in that news. Mrs Bridges continued. “I also spoke to him and he said you six (pointing at us) are very lucky to have got off so lightly!”

She then turned back to the row of seven bottoms. “He has suggested each of the remainder of you receive four strokes. However, Jane, your role in leading the chants and failure to live up to the expectations of the school means you will get six, and you are stripped of the captaincy. Harriet,” she turned and looked at me. “You are appointed Captain for the remainder of the season.”

A sob from Jane told which punishment was worse. I suspect she would have taken twelve strokes of the cane rather than that. My delight and pride at now being school Hockey Captain was tempered with an intense feeling of pity for Jane. She was a natural leader, and one or two of our wins had been down to the intensively competitive drive that was now her downfall.

Mrs Bridges was quite happy, indeed encouraged, us to cluster round the entrance to the showers to watch proceedings, pointing out that we would all receive worse than this if there was ever a repeat. Also the seven had witnessed our slipperings, so she could see no problem in us seeing their canings.

She was clearly still very angry with us as she doled out the punishments. Each girl was forced to shuffle backward in her bent over position to receive their allotted punishment and then shuffle forwards again afterwards back into the line. It was a line she went down very slowly, giving four absolutely vicious strokes to each of them and waiting about a quarter of a minute between the administration of each blow. None of the seven managed to remain silent as four (five in the case of Anne who failed to remain down on her last stroke) angry tramlines appeared across each of their buttocks. Indeed only Carol seemed to manage to retain any of her composure after her thrashing was completed. For those of us watching, it was sobering to realise how close we had come to getting the same treatment, as well as a lesson that we needed to be careful to ensure we never gave cause for our hockey teacher to repeat this. I also realised as Captain I would be most in the firing line in such a circumstance.

Finally, closest to the shower entrance, she came to Jane. We watched with sick fascination as literally a few feet before us the cane hummed through the air and cracked into its target. For each stroke we could watch the angry line of the stroke appear; hear the gasps and cries; and see the agonised looks on Jane’s face as Mrs Bridges gave out a very painful lesson. When finished, Jane, who was no coward, was distraught with six evil looking lines criss-crossing her backside. I was sure she’d be sleeping on her tummy for quite a few days!

After a minute or so the seven girls were told to get up and given five minutes to get changed with the threat of further use of the cane if they did not comply.

We were to all apologise to our opponents before they left. Mrs Bridges told me I was to make a statement on the team’s behalf as the new captain. She unclipped the badge from Jane’s tracksuit that until then she had worn when in any form of school uniform, and passed it to me. I started mentally going through what to say as we ‘slippered six’ helped our team-mates get dried and dressed as quickly as was practical, given the state they were in. It is, however, amazing what the threat of the cane can do. With quite a few gasps all the girls were ready on time to troop out to give our apologies to the other team, whose disappointment at not qualifying for the final was clearly in part mollified by what they had heard.

A few weeks later we won the final. Needless to say we were much more restrained in our celebrations afterwards!

The End