Are you a sports fan? Tell us about fandom. If you’re not, tell us why not.
This is an easy one for me. It’s a topic I’ve had many discussions with people about, and it’s something that I have a fairly strong view on.
The answer is no. I am not a sports fan, and ‘fandom’ is one of the reasons why.
I’ll admit, I don’t find sport particularly fascinating. A shame, as the rest of my family are big sport lovers – whether it’s watching Airbus UK vs Wrexham, the German Grand Prix, or the Ashes – and my lack of interest has meant a lot of family dinners spent staring out of windows over the years. There are some I enjoy more than others – I can just about watch F1 and Rugby without falling asleep, for example, but I can’t bear football or tennis (sorry all you Murray fans out there!).
And before you suggest it, it’s not down to a lack of understanding. With two sports-mad elder brothers, I have had the offside rule explained to me more times than I can remember. Admittedly, I’m a little shaky on my knowledge of tennis, but I could happily explain the LBW rule to you over a Pimms at Lords sometime.
I think part of it is the element of competition. I’m not naturally a very competitive person [unless it comes to Scrabble], and I really hate that someone has to lose after they’ve put in all that hard work. It makes me genuinely sad for them. I’d probably still be sad even if it was the EDL playing the BNP in the Questionable Politics World Cup. After all, they tried their best. And we’re always told as children that as long as we try our best, that’s ok. But it’s not ok, because even though they tried their best they’ve still lost, and they’re upset. How is that fair?
It also baffles me how emotional people get about sport. I can sort of understand it at a National Level – I love any excuse to wave a flag, see my posts about Eurovision – but beyond that I just don’t get what the big deal is. This is a phenomena that particularly seems to occur in the word of football. From Match of the Day, to the 5 Live Football Phone-in, to post-game violence, it all just seems a bit of an over-reaction to what is, essentially, a game. Just like Chess. Or Badminton. Or Tiddlywinks. But do you see people stabbing each other over a bad result at tiddlywinks? No. It’s all about perspective.
People treat sport like a religion. In fact, I’ve come to wonder whether the absence of religion in what is increasingly a secular culture means that people have had to transfer that passion, that dogged loyalty, that hope, onto something else. And it has manifested itself in people coming home early from the pub so they don’t miss Match of the Day, or ranting about a questionable yellow card on national radio. In fact, if you think about it, going to a football/rugby/cricket match is a lot like going to Church. If the Stadium is the Church, then the chants are the hymns, the match programme is the service sheet, and the players are the idols, who you are wishing (read: praying) upon for a good result.
That last paragraph might have gone a bit far. But you get the idea. Sport is not life or death. It’s sport. Take a step back, sports fans, and realise that yes it’s compelling viewing (for some!) but that doesn’t mean you should name your child ‘Hotspur’ and spend your entire salary on going to watch Aston Villa play football in Dubai.
I’m anticipating a lot of people won’t agree with me on this one – my brothers for starters – so feel free to comment with your own views.I’d love to hear them!