On being unsportsmanlike
I’m sure I have said this before, but I just don’t understand sport.
I can understand exercise and a bit of craic though. Kicking a ball around a field with a few mates is grand. I have also done a bit of cycling in my younger days so I can see the attraction there [if only they didn’t clutter up the road]. I was quite a dab hand at Darts in my younger drinking days and could toss a mean arrow. What I don’t understand is this competitive stuff.
The television is full of the Olympics at the moment and these are the most baffling of the lot.
A group of people run around in circles and somehow the honour of a country is at stake. If your country’s runner happens to be the fastest there is rejoicing in the streets. Why? Within a few days everyone will have forgotten about it with the exception maybe the runner. There is this weird competition between countries to get the most gold medals, but what really does this mean? Is one country somehow superior to another just because their competitor happened to win?
And there are so many sports. A person might be able to run the fastest around a circle but they can’t row for fuck. A boxer might be a champion at that but is fuck all use at gymnastics.
In my school days I was considered to be an oddity and was the subject of some derision. Why? Because I didn’t “follow” a football team. It was apparently some kind of obligation to memorise in great deal the history and achievements of a football team in another country. In my day, you were a Queer if you preferred women to football.
Even now I occasionally get asked if I “watched the match last night”. Naturally this leads to a blank look as I haven’t a clue what they are talking about. Football? Hurling? Rugby? If I just say no then I have landed myself in for a long account of how brilliant/awful the match was. I then glaze over and nod periodically until they have finished. Sometimes, to avoid this I just say I don’t follow sport. This is usually greeted with a look of horror. “But you must follow some sport?” When I say I don’t follow any sport whatsoever this usually leads to total disbelief and the end of any conversation.
Sport could be quite interesting if they changed the rules a bit. When the starting gun goes to start a race they could let loose a pack of bad tempered Dobermans? They could do the same for swimming with a few sharks? Why can’t the high-jump not be over a brick wall instead of a prissy pole [and do away with that pansy cushion on the other side too]? That would sort out the men from the boys.
But in the meantime if you want to talk about sport, try someone else.
I tickles my irony humour sense buds that the most fanatical sports fans (tautolgy?) look as if the only exercise they take is pint hefting followed by pizza hurling.
The spectator sport I am really puzzled by is golf.
On a par (see what I did there?) with hysterical audience applause for a wee lottery ball dropping down a transparent tube into a little rack.
I have played quite a few rounds of golf myself in the past [even once getting a hole-in-one]. It has a couple of redeeming features – it tends to take place in quiet scenic locations and the players don’t get hysterical after a good shot. Compare football players and their sliding on their knees and their group hugs to a golfer who will raise an arm no higher than shoulder height! I still won’t watch it though.
I have a couple of gripes with it all – firstly, this over-blown inter-school sports-day is compromised by the ‘fluid nationality’ of the players, as it seems that they can freely adopt the nationality of whichever country will pay them best. Nationality should be the country which gave you your first passport or the country in which you have been continuously tax-resident for the last 5 years. That would sort them out.
My second gripe is with ‘circus acts’ purporting to be sports. A sport should be objectively measured, whether by points scored, times taken or distances etc. Any ‘sport’ which relies on judges to apply subjective scoring, like gymnastics, ice-dancing, skateboarding etc., has no place in the sporting compendium – they may be spectacular theatrical or circus-style achievements and worthy of applause for that, but they are not sport by any realistic standard.
Ernest Hemingway once wrote that there are only three sports in the world, motor-racing, mountaineering and bull-fighting, because in those events you are ‘sporting’ with your life, anything else is just a game, a pastime, an amusement. I am not amused.
Hmm…I always thought an Irish queer preferred women to drink.
“When the starting gun goes to start a race they could let loose a pack of bad tempered Dobermans?”
Or they could have a finishing gun and shoot the runner who’s last over the line.
Or (and I’m just riffing now) they could choose a random number and shoot that one as they finish.
Admit it, you’d pay to watch that. 😀
“Even now I occasionally get asked if I “watched the match last night”. Naturally this leads to a blank look as I haven’t a clue what they are talking about.”
Pipe smoking of course. I have watched thousands of matches over the past 40 odd years. (I watched one just this morning after filling a pipe with a great burley flake tobacco.)
Maybe the Olympic Games should add a slow smoking event. Not only would it require a degree of talent, but it would fit into both summer and winter games.
I’m the same when it comes to sports. I simply don’t care. Not saying I didn’t participate in a couple of them in my younger days–bowling and golf mainly. I think I took up golf and bowling just out of pure malice. I knew that I would be terrible at both what with my bad back so my golf swing was something to see as was my bowling “delivery”.
I have to say though that the day I killed a squirrel that was sitting halfway down the fairway by badly topping the golf ball I was swinging at into a flaming “worm burner” that slammed right into the squirrel’s head, still lives in my memory to this day. But it was when golfing partner launched the demised squirrel over the trees and onto the neighbouring “green” while another group was “putting out” that really burned that day into my brain. Landed right in the middle of them.
I think he used a 7 iron.