Thinking Aloud on A Sunday

Sport.

I woke up thinking about sport today. The World Cup final happens later, along with the Wimbledon Tennis final too. For the last three or four weeks, the television schedules have been consumed with sport of all kinds. Not just the Football and Tennis, also Darts, Golf, Formula One car racing, and for all I know, Tiddlywinks and Pick Up Sticks. Most people are sport-mad it would seem, and don’t care what they watch, as long as it qualifies as a ‘sport’. Cycling, Marathons, Athletics, Swimming, Cricket, Bowls, Curling, the list is endless, and they all have their devoted followers.

But they don’t have me.

I haven’t followed sport since I was young. Unless my Dad or someone else wanted to watch it on TV, I never bothered with any of it. But if he was home, then I could guarantee endless hours of Snooker, or anything else sport-related being shown. I grew so bored with it in my teens, especially when there were so few channels to choose from back then. He would even watch Golf, though he never once played the game. It was implied to me, in no uncertain terms, that real men watched sport, any sport. If I didn’t want to watch any, then my gender was in dispute, as far as he was concerned.

It didn’t get any better once I started work. Colleagues would discuss the weekend results with enthusiasm, and visibly blanch when I remarked that I hadn’t watched anything, or checked the scores. New staff would invariably ask what team I supported, so I would make up an affiliation to Tottenham Hotspur, (a top London soccer team) just to save hours of debate and argument. But I rarely knew their last result, or even who played for them, so I had to keep my responses vague. When national pride was on the line, with a big match against another country, or regular events like the Cricket Ashes, or Rugby finals, people stared at me open-mouthed when I said that I didn’t care who won. And I really didn’t.

As I got older, I became ‘Sportist’, openly declaring that I had no interest, and happily debating the reasons why. Formula One was cars just going round and round. Football was all about the money, Cricket was fixed, and rife with corruption, Golf was so dull to watch I couldn’t stay awake, and every Snooker game I had ever seen looked just like the one before. The Olympics were political, and many medal winners were using drugs to enhance their performance, and Tennis was dominated by the same four players, every year. Might just as well watch last year’s final, as the same two were playing in it again this year. I pulled out my soap box, stood on it, and denounced all this national and international sport as dull, boring, fixed, or uninteresting.
It was a lonely place, that soap box.

I got some support from my wives of course. Women (at the time) tended to like sport a lot less than men, generally speaking, and they were pleased to be married to someone who didn’t insist on watching everything and anything. During major tournaments, we would be watching a film on the VHS player, occasionally hearing the cheers from nearby houses, when the English team did something good. During such events, our car would not be flying small England Flags, and I would not be seen dead wearing a shirt with an England motif. No bunting or banners would festoon our house, and I was never seen in the local pub, full of beer and celebrating a success, however major. (Or minor)

Now I am officially ‘old’, I can finally get away with telling people “I don’t follow any sport”. They no longer argue about it with me, presuming I am either weird, or might have early onset dementia.

64 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud on A Sunday

  1. I don’t follow sport either, Pete. I never pretended to either. My husband has always had to watch on his own or with friends. Some South African women are rugby mad thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My dad sounds like your dad. He even watches school boy rugby. My childhood memories are full of him pitched up in front of the telly watching hours and hours of whatever sport was on. I have mixed feelings. I like the major events like the World Cups and Olympics and I do enjoy watching international cricket and rugby but I kind of used to rely on my flatmates knowing when it was on. Mr O isn’t in the least bit bothered except for the occasional international football match so we tend to just forget to watch stuff… especially since we don’t have any sports channels.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never been big on sports either. My father loved football and we had to watch it, like it or not, when I was a child (he was in charge and there was only a TV). He also enjoyed car and motorbike racing, boxing, cycling (mostly la vuelta and the Tour), although in later years he also watched snooker (he was happy to know I’d been to the Crucible many times, although never to watch snooker. Great plays there, for sure!). I used to like (and still do, but don’t get to watch very often), ice-skating and gymnastics (I guess I’ve always like more artistic things that I felt I could never do), but they never got much attention and other than catching big events, they were not shown often. I followed tennis for a little while but mostly, I don’t care. You’re right that it was an expectation that men would like sports, even if only watching, although I had some friends who were football-mad (and one married a football player. He played for Barcelona at some point, so it was a pretty good move). I’m happy you’re not pestered over it any longer. (I always laugh at all these companies trying to sell me their TV packages based on how many sports channels they have. Ja!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get emails suggesting I sign up for sports packages on satellite TV. Just shows how wrong their ‘demographic profiling’ can be. πŸ™‚
      Thanks, Olga.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  4. I understand, Pete. I never grew up playing sports or having any interest in sports. And, like you, I didn’t have any positive sports experiences as a child. Frankly, I just didn’t care. One time as an adult I went a Major League Baseball game. Baseball is a little slower, so catching on and understanding wasn’t difficult. I really liked watching the game. Things with sports suddenly seemed quite different. My attitude changed. So, I really do like some sports now. Skip the TV and the hype. The sport itself can be terrific to watch. Often it complicated, which makes it exciting. My father who is long gone would be shocked. He’d probably be pleased, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love football Pete. Not soccer but the NFL. I’m a big fan. Tennessee Titans! Yeah! Tennis too. And basketball. College and the NBA. Falling right into the old American stereotypes I’m afraid. Lot’s of women like sports in the U.S. Can’t wait for the NFL season to start. My husband and I go watch the Titans practice. Don’t hate me Pete. Not only am I American, but I’m from the South. I can’t help it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam, I don’t hate anyone who loves and follows sport of any kind. It’s generally the other way round, as they think I am very strange not liking or watching any, and especially because I don’t care whether or not England win. πŸ™‚ (I’m not patriotic, at any level)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, to each his own. Live and let live. I’m patriotic, but not nationalistic (and there is a link with sports and nationalism, no doubt.) )That said, I was rooting for England (though I don’t care for soccer and didn’t watch any of the games)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post πŸ™‚ I really do not follow sports so I can not really comment πŸ™‚ Not to get off topic, but If you ever do a great film soundtrack post, you should include Alex Cox’s Repo Man, which has a lot of great punk songs in there. Anyway, keep up the great work as always πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When in the early 1970s, a friend took me to see Pete Maravich play basketball. Later that decade, I got a chance to see Larry Bird play a couple of times. Watching those two play, gave me an appreciation for the game. So, I followed college ball for about ten years. Later in the 80s, I heard John Madden call a football game on television while sorting stamps. I loved his commentary and followed him, John Madden the broadcaster, for American football while he was on the air. For both games, it was a form of entertainmentβ€”a spectator enjoying the skills of players and in football, commentators.
    Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Phil & I don’t do or watch sport either. I did do rather well at 10 pin bowling for a few years, but never watched it on TV (if it was ever on, which I don’t think it was). It’s lovely to have quiet roads though when England are playing in anything big. πŸ™‚

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  9. Hee hee. The World Cup final is on in the other room but I’m not watching. I’m here reading your post which is a hell of a lot more interesting! As a kid I followed baseball but now follow nothing. Our local football team is on TV here during the Fall and Winter but I rarely “watch” – its just background sound in the house.

    Besties from hot humid Florida.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My interest in sports is dictated by late season prospects of my former hometown teams, the Kansas City Royals (baseball) and the Kansas City Chiefs (football). I watched the KC Royals playoffs back in 1985 on broadcast television, and (having cancelled my cable subscription here in Las Vegas many years ago) watched the internet play by play (using graphics) of the World Series in 2015. (The Royals won both years.) I’ve kept track of the Chiefs in those few years where they bulldozed their way into the playoffs (only to predictably fizzle out once they got in).

    Speaking of Las Vegas, the city was abuzz this year due to the shocking success of the Vegas Golden Knights (hockey), a new expansion team that fought its way to the Stanley Cup, but was only able to win the first game against the Washington Capitals. I only kept track of the win-loss numbers throughout the series, but was keenly aware of the series because there were street merchants, electronic billboards, bumper stickers, local magazine covers, etc. all over town cheering the team on.

    The Oakland Raiders are coming to Las Vegas, with their first season, as the Las Vegas Raiders, scheduled to start in the fall of 2020. The new stadium is currently under construction across the highway from Mandalay Bay. The local enthusiasm for the team is apparent everywhere. It doesn’t hurt that many of the people who’ve moved to Las Vegas are from California.

    So there is a lot of excitement in Las Vegas for sports (and, of course, sports betting is BIG here!). Personally, I don’t care for hockey, and won’t bother with the Raiders unless they become Super Bowl contenders.

    My relationship with team sports is like my relationship with fishing. I rarely fish, because it’s generally boring, but when I do, it only gets interesting when there’s a tug on the line.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, David. Gambling has become much more associated with sport here, since the rise of the Internet. Online gamblers can now place bets right up to the last moment of any match. Yet more money involved, alongside the match-fixing, payoffs, transfer fees, and numerous tax dodges.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sport? What’s that? Before I lost my mobility, I used to like walking, sailing and riding, but as soon as any element of competition was brought into it you could forget it. In contrast, my younger brother loves it and when he was little, insisted that I must support a football team. So I said I would support Crystal Palace because that was nearest to where I was born. All was well and good while they were languishing at the bottom of the 4th division. Then their fortunes changed and suddenly I was expected to pay attention! He tried so hard to get me to. Never succeeded though πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose sport obsession is similar to Beatlemania in many respects. Except Beatles fans often grew out of that hysteria, whereas sports fans are devoted unto death. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  12. To each his own.
    My ex-husband was such a sports fan, it played a major role in our ten years together. My sons and daughter grew up in that environment so favorite teams and going to see a game were the highest form of entertainment. Then came the quiet, blissful years after he and sports were removed from the house. How nice to give sports a break. I didn’t follow or care since sports was associated with the ex. Nowadays, golf and baseball are the two sports that are heard in the house or actively talked about. Two is plenty.
    The only sport I actively play and love is shooting pool. I’ve gotten pretty good at it in the local pub. πŸ™‚
    I would much rather read a book or watch a movie. Number one form of entertainment is being outside walking or writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Some years ago, I was sent up to visit a manufacturer in Manchester to witness one of their items being made for us. After a tour of the factory, their three guys took me into a room where lunch was laid on. Almost at once they started talking, and mostly arguing, about Man U and Man City and some other northern teams. This went on for 15 minutes before one of them remembered why we were there and asked me which team I supported down south. I don’t follow football, I said. An embarrassing pause followed before the senior most guy said, β€œoh no, lads! we’ve just been boring our client for the last 15 minutes!” I told them, yes and they’d just lost the order. A joke which, in the circumstances, they appreciated – good sense of humour, northerners.
    Some sports are okay to play but all sport I find boring to watch. As for supporting a team, I never did get that.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My OH would agree with you Pete, though I have got him slightly interested in tennis, he also doesn’t know a thing about cars although he might be able to waffle on about trains and planes though never been a ‘spotter’. He doesn’t come with the stereotypical manly hobbies either, hopeless at DIY. He is a musician and a writer. My ex was into plants particularly orchids and listening to music. Yet all my sons are sports fans – football, F1 etc. Me? I am a rugby girl, coming from Wakefield which has no football team, it was only natural πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I watch some sports for the TV programing here in the States sucks…..especially on weekends…..but I may be one of the few Americans that is not sports stupid…there is no fantasy teams for me to fret over, no bets to worry about although gambling was the only way I would watch American football in the past….and especially when the temps are 100+ outside I will stay where it is cool…..have a good day…and yes I will watch the World Cup…LOL chuq..

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  16. I’m a Barnsley supporter for much the same reason that you support Spurs, and as they languish in the lower divisions nobody can even question me as they are complete unknowns unless you live in Barnsley:)
    I have to admit though that I have enjoyed watching some of the world cup matches and for some reason I have followed Formula one for most of my life, I can only guess that I’m waiting for the next crash πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  17. We have so much in common until this post. I feel cheated on the weekend if there isn’t a sport on tv that I want to see or a team of mine on their schedule. Our main sports channel, ESPN, has been very interested in the World Series of Poker lately – I’m still trying to figure out HOW that’s a sport!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m with you on this, Pete. I have no interest in sport. I might occasionally watch Wimbledon though not this year. Think of all the films you’ve managed to see because you haven’t been glued to the screen watching sporting events!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Haha…guess what: I’m going to back you up on this one. I absolutely hate sports. (I get tired even by thinking about sports lol). At work pretty much the same thing happens to me as well: especially at a time like this when there is so much sport on tv: I just zone out of all the discussions about it, or try to make a joke about it.
    I much rather watch a good movie that’s for sure. Have a great (sportless) sunday Pete 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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