SPORT, part 2…
In my last blog post, I wrote about various activities known as SPORT — initiated, I suspect, by the furore surrounding renowned sportsman antivaxxer (later renamed by some as “NoVax”).
Continuing my thoughts on the definition of sport and its different modes — whether for personal enjoyment or for public display and $$$$$$, my mind turned to boxing.
I have always had a strong dislike for this ‘sport’, including confusion on how on earth boxing could ever be classed as SPORT.
To be called a winner after bashing someone into insensibility is hardly what I would consider SPORT.
At the end of a boxing round — or rounds — there’s the ‘champ’, with his hand held high in victory by the referee, while his opponent lies on the ‘canvas’, blood leaking from his broken nose and a cut over his left eyebrow. SPORT?
But there you are: People do it. People watch it. People even pay to see it. Each to his own, I suppose. But….?
Recently in Queensland there was a big horse thing called ‘Magic Millions’. There were a few horse races involved but apparently the ‘millions’ was to do with the selling and buying of racehorses.
I have written about the horse racing ‘industry’ before. I asked how many families keep horses in their backyard, as it had been reported that the racehorse breeding programs did not, (as some suggested) ‘eliminate’ unsuccessful horses as ‘waste’. “No”, they said, “we rehome all horses that are not used in the ‘industry’. All those horses go to homes where they are cared for lovingly…etc…”
Seeing that the rate of horse breeding results in hundreds of horses bred each and every year, far more than those used in racing, there must be thousands of suburban homes that ultimately home and care for one of these excess horses.
Do you have a horse in your backyard?
No? Me neither.
Similarly with greyhounds.
A couple of years ago it seemed to be popular – and dare I say, a fashionable thing, to own a ‘Rescued Greyhound’.
People walking proudly in the park with their svelte greyhounds seemed to emanate an air of superiority. “I saved this beautiful dog from death”, they implied. “Everyone should do this”.
But, then again, there are not hundreds of people walking greyhounds in every park.
The number of bred greyhounds, before ability tested and checked by breeders would be a great number annually. Considering numbers ultimately used in the greyhound ‘industry’, I imagine there would be many more ‘unwanted’ dogs than those few we see walking in the suburbs.
So, I suppose what I am saying about horse racing and greyhound racing is two-fold:
One, that it is debatable if these activities qualify as SPORT. And two, the amount of culling — cruelty, in other words — should be unacceptable.
To end on a more positive note concerning SPORT, I have to say that there are many sporting activities that are great.
In country communities especially, games of netball, tennis, basketball, soccer, cricket, softball, etcetera — even AFL (women and men) — keep towns together and the players healthy.
Activities such as swimming, cycling – even dancing - are all excellent ways to use your time and keep fit.
But I have a problem with some other activities referred to as SPORT.
If it’s primarily for money and adulation – even if it is an excellent skill, I am not sure if that is true SPORT.
I won’t even touch on the Olympics!
If it is using a machine or animal, more than human physical activity, then I am not sure if that constitutes a SPORT.
If the activity results in a person or an animal (animals?) being hurt or ‘eliminated’, then that should definitely not be considered a FAIR SPORT.
I may be wrong.
Here’s a definition of SPORT, from Cambridge dictionary:
‘a game, competition, or activity needing physical effort and skill that is played or done according to rules, for enjoyment and/or as a job’.
Okay, I accept that tennis is a sport…but, we have recently been put through days of mind-numbing media reports and analyses concerning a multi-millionaire sportsman who didn’t wish to endure a couple of necessary injections - allowing him to hit a ball over a net.
It was hideous the way this story took over the News. It surely set more than me wondering about sport…and the meaning of ‘News’.
But, back to SPORT: Sure, there are different modes of SPORT in everyday life. Every type of football can easily be identified as SPORT, even though I cringe at the money aspect of professional teams.
But football and other activities do qualify as SPORT, by needing skill and having rules – no matter what you think.
Rugby looks like what we used to play as nine-year-olds, called “Keepings off”, where we tried to wrest a ball from our ‘opponents’.
Some folk enjoy watching grown men, with thick necks, play that game. Each to his own, I suppose.
Cricket is a SPORT – and I admit that I enjoy watching a small amount of it on tv occasionally. But it is just a game where someone throws a ball at someone else, who then tries to hit it ‘effectively’. And a game can last for days!
There are individual SPORTS activities such as all forms of athletics, involving running and jumping as well as swimming and surfing, etc.
So, I accept there are many SPORTS around that people enjoy watching as well as participating in.
But…as for (professional) golf: How anyone can walk around a golf course, (as a spectator) watching grownups hit a little white ball into a hole and consider it an enjoyable way to spend a day eludes me. Apparently, the person who uses the lowest number of hits to get the little ball into a hole is the winner! There’s a person called ‘Tiger’(!) who is a multi-millionaire from doing just that!
Then there are activities some call SPORT, that I can’t equate with the word, ‘SPORT’. I’m referring to car and motorbike racing.
How can something like that be considered a SPORT? Beats me! Yep, skill, maybe – but SPORT?
What about shooting? Yes, shooting. It’s an Olympic SPORT! All about accuracy, I imagine…but SPORT?
Over a hundred years ago, pigeon racing was an Olympic SPORT! Even now, some people refer to it as a SPORT! Poor pigeons do all the work, and some human being gets all the praise!
I’ll comment more on the topic of sport in the next blog as I am getting off the track of my original question of WHAT is SPORT? – the starting point being the rogue tennis player who thought he was ‘The Greatest’ in too many ways.
For years – decades, maybe – I have told friends & relatives that it is dangerous (once over 60 years of age - I may have even said ‘over 50’) - to clamber up ladders or climb up on chairs and tables to reach high places.
So why did I – at my ancient age – step up on a kitchen chair to place something up on a high shelf?
The answer is that I considered myself quite able to do such a thing. Which was/is a wrong assumption.
I stepped up on to a chair, lost my balance, flew through the air backwards, landed in a crashing heap on the kitchen floor and whacked my head on hard tiles.
Long story, involving a hospital visit (scary in these Covid times), CT scan and a resultant diagnosis of serious concussion.
Previously I had no idea that concussion means days (weeks now) of dizziness, headaches, unsteady gait, inability to look at a computer screen without becoming nauseous and a desire to lie on the sofa all day.
But that’s it!
This is as long a blog post that I can muster right now. Nausea rising!
PLEASE everyone – if you are older than about 50, do not climb up on anything, no matter how young you feel you are.
Concussion* awaits – and it is not nice.
*Worse can happen.
Happy New Year, 2022!
Can we even say that? I mean, do we dare expect 2022 to be a happy year after the past two?
Yes, I know there were a few good happenings in 2020 and 2021, but I just can’t think of many right now.
The past two years have been dominated by a virus that took us by surprise, presenting different lives and behaviours previously unknown.
T.S.Elliot wrote, “For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice.”
And so I have compiled a list of ‘last year’s language’ for us to ponder and maybe shudder over:
Wuhan, Covid, virus, pandemic, Coronavirus, symptoms, vaccination, antivaxx, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, infections, deaths, border closures, outbreaks, cancellations, boosters, Omicron….
And, to counteract those words, here are just a few hopeful suggestions for the language of ‘another voice’ in 2022:
Immunity, cure, normal, bliss, happiness….
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.