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Am I The Only One?

10 October 2010

When I say I don’t like sport, I really mean it.  As soon as the sports news comes on at the end of the “proper” news, I hit the Mute button – unless David has already beaten me to it. But at times like these, with the Commonwealth Games taking place, or when there’s an Olympics or the Wimbledon Grand Final, the sports news is moved up the slots and becomes regular news.  David and I then fight to see who can get to the remote control first.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this – well, I know I’m not or did I marry the only other person in the world who feels as I do?  I just don’t “get” it. 

And, no, I’m not the fat kid who couldn’t do sport at school.  In fact, unfortunately for me, I was sometimes quite good at it.  I won the Junior Cross Country Championship at school once, was moritified when I was (on only one occasion) picked to play for the school hockey team – which meant I had to give up a Saturday morning – and I came first in an inter-schools swimming competition.   

But I don’t appear to have the sports gene.  And I just don’t get why there is so much national pride in it. 

I was in Australia in 1976 when the Olympic Games were taking place in Montreal.  There was a great controversy raging about what National Anthem would be sung when an Australian was on the podium – they were starting to drop the British ‘God Save the Queen’, and were wavering between Advance Australia Fair and Waltzing Matilda.  Rather hilariously I thought after all the debate, the whole discussion was irrelevant because Australia didn’t win one Gold medal.  That would be difficult for people to comprehend here today because they now win medals totally disproportionate to the size of the population.   As I write, they’re leading the medal table in Delhi, ahead of England and India. 

They invested money in sport.  Loads of it.  They opened sporting academies (which I believe are free, unlike universities).  And it paid off – they won medals.  Now the British are doing the same, I think, and are winning more than their usual number of medals in Delhi. 

I know that whatever a Government chooses to spend money on, there will always be those who protest that it should go somewhere else.  The pot just isn’t big enough to cover what everyone wants.  But Britain is in recession, money isn’t paving the streets of London and what are they doing?  Pouring money into sports training and facilities, as if the staging of the Olympics isn’t already emptying the coffers. .

I’d be interested to hear what’s happening in the USA which has one of the worst economies in the world at the moment – have they drastically cut their sports budget or are they still determined to return from London with loads of Gold medals (Note to President Obama : They aren’t REAL gold).  

Why?  So people can feel pride in their nation and stick two fingers up to the rest of the world?   I really don’t care whether your sprinters can run faster than our sprinters. Why should I?   

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6 comments

  1. I think a lot of the American sports-persons train at colleges – on scholarships but they are not tax-payer funded.

    And perhaps some of it comes back to cold-war ideologies? Demonstrating national might through a single competitors ability?

    What I find most amusing is that through all the problems the host nation are having (ie – structures collapsing) they are now bragging that there have been no drug cheats caught at these games so they are doing better than Melbourne in that regard. I don’t think they realise that they have no control over the drug habits of competitors. And, given that there are usually drug cheats at any elite level, perhaps it is a failing that they have not yet caught anyone??? Yes, I am being extremely cynical this morning…


  2. I’m with you on this one. Great to throw a ball round in a park on a pleasant Sunday morning – but to make a total lifestyle out of physical activity baffles me.

    This may partly be because I haven’t got a competitive gene in my body, for anything. I was a good swimmer and won quite a lot, but when I didn’t I wasn’t in the slightest concerned.

    I was distraught when the Olympics came to London. They’re going to be held just round the corner from where my son lives and he says that there are literally hundreds of lost jobs and businesses – many people couldn’t face the enforced move from the area, or their staff couldn’t travel to wherever the company had to relocate – or they just couldn’t face the hassle.

    Final gripe – when I hear about footballers earning upwards of £80,000 a WEEK – how was that allowed to happen?


    • Judith – footballers don’t EARN anything – they get paid outrageous sums.


  3. I love watching sport – it’s entertaining (to me), and I admire the skills and abilites of the sportspeople, as well as their dedication etc to training. All things I do not personally have when it comes to sport. And it also reminds me of many pleasant times watching sports with my dad.

    But it’s not a way of life for me like it is for some fans, and nor do I particularly feel like my national pride depends on sporting success. I agree that sports gets too much media attention and funding, and I also agree that some sportspeople (footballers in particular come to mind) are paid far tooo much and well in excess of their contribution to society.

    But you definitely aren’t alone – my husband could take or leave sports!


  4. I’m in this club too, dull as a dull thing to me. I can see that if you enjoy running around etc and have the gameplaying gene (I don’t, Clare definitely does) you might conceivably enjoy playing these games.

    But watching them obsessively? (Like my bro) – just can’t understand it!


  5. I lived in Korea for the Seoul Olympics, Sydney for the Sydney games and am a Londoner by birth. The run up to each of these events is depressingly similar. People and businesses displaced, any spare cash sucked up into a bottomless money pit (I think Sydney’s crap infrastructure is because we are still paying for the Olympics) and all for the benefit of a couple of hundred “elite” athletes. I don’t get it, either.



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