1. There was the time he played table tennis with Barack Obama, and embarrassed the nation.
This is 3 mins and 46 seconds of the most painful sporting footage available on YouTube. Highlights:
8 secs: After a strong return from Obama, David Cameron is gifted a weak lollipop to smash home. He somehow manages to hit it behind him.
15 secs: It’s Cameron’s next shot. He misses the ball. Obama laughs at him and he starts to go red.
45 secs: Cameron’s won a point with a backhand! Obama proffers a high five, Cameron holds his hand for too long afterwards thus turning something that could have been cool into something unexpectedly homoerotic which appears to make both men uncomfortable.
49 secs: Cameron hits his fourth shot (out of the five he’s played so far) out. He hits his sixth shot into the net. And then his seventh a few seconds later. And then his eighth a few seconds after that. “I’m getting better,” he jokes through gritted teeth.
1 min 22 secs: Cameron has all but given up. This effort misses the table by three feet. In a curious echo of his future foreign policy, he’s now reduced to standing back and letting Obama do everything.
2 mins 13 secs: Obama misses a shot. The ball is dead. Cameron smashes it at someone’s face. This is pure rage right now.
3 mins 8 secs: A return comes back so fast that Cameron can’t even think of hitting it, so he tries to catch it. And fails to do so. Twice. Getting rattled again. He quickly tries to serve and makes a complete Horlicks of that too.
3 mins 20 secs: “Last point” says Obama. Until Cameron messes up again.
3. There was the time he played cricket and had his stumps demolished by a teenage girl.
Eton is no doubt the kind of school where a solid batting technique is hardwired into its pupils, possibly with the use of cattle prods. And to be fair there are a couple of nice cover drives there. But that airy-fairy hoick that lead to his dismissal by an innocuous ball from a child? As Geoffrey Boycott would tell you, he wants flogging.
5. There was the time he played Badminton and was as bad at it as it’s possible to be.
Shuttlecocks do not travel that fast.
7. There was the time some cruel bastard made him play table tennis again.
Once more, there’s a real struggle to find the middle ground between “gwibbling into the net” and “smashing it straight at someone’s face”. That’s when he’s not missing the ball entirely. One thing we can take from this is that he’s a good delegator: after only one and a half minutes of failure he’s claiming it’s someone else’s job.
9. There was the time he played tennis with Boris Johnson and lost.
There’s a real 1920s vibe to his play, with a weirdly stiff right hand. He’s better at tennis than the others (he used to play all the time at Oxford), but the thing is, he and his partner just lost to a team containing, um, Boris Johnson.