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Friday, January 11, 2008

A Good Sport

The Last Word column from Day and Night in today's Irish Independent

There are only a few topics in this world that will make my eyes glaze over and my brain shut down automatically. Anything to do with taxes/mortgages/financial affairs is pretty effective in this regard. So too are computer games, and anything to do with science. But the one thing I simply cannot get my mind around is sport. One might even go as far to say that I, gulp, positively hate sport.

I bring it up because a friend, who's all caught up in a New Year fitness craze, recently asked me if I wanted to join an amateur soccer team with him. I laughed – oh how I laughed – for even though the guys on this soccer team allegedly are only there for the fun of it, and don't take it that seriously, I don't think there's an amateur soccer team anywhere that would be amateur enough to accommodate my soccer-playing "abilities".

For you see, I'm not one of those types who hates something for no reason. Oh no. My dislike of soccer and sport is grounded in lamentable, hard-forged personal experience. I'm talking years of enforced soccer games, of being picked last, and of pitying looks as I miserably tried to raise a sliotar with a hurl. Excuse me, I've got something in my eye!

It's not like nature hasn't tried to make me like sport. Afterall, I was born into a family with four sport-mad brothers who literally came out of the womb performing kick-ups and humming the theme tune to Match of the Day.

They did their best, bless 'em, to get me on board, but I wasn't buying it. After a few years, they realised that my soccer-playing talents were best suited to being a goalie in all our games, and even then they appointed another player to stay back and defend the goal, and basically do all the work. I was just the front – the George W Bush if you will – to that defender's Dick Cheney, the one calling – and blocking – the shots.

And so they came to accept that while they spent Sunday evenings watching match highlights, I was happier to cram into my parents' room to watch Melrose Place with my sister-in-law on the other TV.

To compound my sporting hell, I also spent a total of 14 years in all-boys primary and secondary schools, the latter of which was considered the south-east's feeder school for the GAA. Hurling, basketball, hockey, tennis – they were all foisted on me, and all subsequently proved to me that I was definitely born missing some gene. Seriously, it's not pleasant for all concerned when I get on a pitch or a court. Grown men – PE teachers usually - have been reduced to tears.

Now that I'm a fully-fledged grown up (we'll see what the lab has to say about that!), I don't have to even pretend to be interested in sport any longer. This being so, you can imagine how helpful I am when I'm occasionally asked to help edit sport stories at work, and I have to spend the time looking up words like "equaliser" and "pass" to find their meanings (though I'm pretty sure I won't be asked to muck in from this day on).

Curiously though, my sportophobia has eased somewhat lately. For instance, my interest in rugby seems to have spiked in recent years, which, by pure coincidence, corresponds directly with the emergence of beautiful players on the French team. I'd like to think the current plethora of hot sports men in the public eye is Mother Nature's way of apologising to all of us who suffered for years under thankless, cruel sporting regimes. Apology very much accepted Ma'am.

1 comment:

Kriselten said...

Well written (as expected) but as usual, I related to this article! XO