Monday 13 August 2012

Sport For All ? We Don't Know What It Means

And so the post-Olympic cry goes up: sport for all !  And we just know a large part of those joining the chorus are politically motivated - a chance to ambush and embarrass Cameron into committing more public money, just as someone evidently nobbled him in Opposition on the subject of overseas aid.  (Being a nob, he's eminently nobblable.)

Here's a short answer for these clamouring opportunistic statists: show me your personal exercise schedule for the past five years.  What, no thrice-weekly five-mile jogging ?  No membership of a local soccer club ?  No regular lengths of the municipal pool, or sessions at the gym ?

That'd quieten the politico-hubbub, and we'd be left with the vested (sports-vest-ed) interests, which is fair enough, every supplier lobbies for a government bung these days.

Fact is, we don't know the meaning of Sport For All in this country, as it would be understood in, say, Australia where literally everyone with a pulse is into one or more organised sports - which doesn't necessarily mean expensively funded, or indeed subsidised in any way.  It's the twice-a-week touch-rugby team (including mixed touch-rugby, which is curiously popular and motivational ...), or beach soccer, or surfing, or ... whatever.

And before the response of 'they have nicer weather', I should add that in Ireland, where I'm spending a lot of my time just now, it is pretty much the same, constant rain notwithstanding.  The GAA is a really big sporting/social affair; or the rugby, according to taste.  The park I go running in of a Dublin evening - not Phoenix Park, just a suburban patch - rain or (once in a while) shine is always chocka with runners, work-out classes, soccer games 11- and 5-a-side, open-air tai chi, really athletic frisbee contests and yes, mixed touch-rugby ...  The contrast with my own deserted South London suburban park couldn't be greater.

And it only really costs time.  Sport for all ?  Yeah, OK: just get on with it.



Electro-Kevin said...

Russell Brand at the closing ceremony is what they think of sport.

The antithesis of drugs free, self sufficient, elitist Olympian spirit.

This internationally unrecognisable chap must be the official face of establishment drugs policy as the airtime he gets on the subject is phenomenal.

Center stage at the closing ceremony of the Olympics ?

The nation's health and competitiveness is about to get a whole lost worse - especially if they keep pedalling the potent myth that barely 5% of our population using narcotics means that the 'war on drugs has failed and must be abandoned'.

Mark Wadsworth said...

That's all very interesting. Fact is, I'm not interested in sport but if I were, I wouldn't be foisting my interests on everybody else, I'd just get on with it. All these people talking about "two hours compulsory sport every day for schoolchildren" are barking mad authoritarians.

It strikes me, the best way to get people involved in sport (and cheapest) would probably be to ban it.

From my second home said...

Why should a school do sports? They can barely teach children properly.

Here in France children join clubs outside school for sport. Even in the most statist nation in Europe, state-organised sports are not on the curriculum.

If British schools and the teaching unions get anywhere near sports the nation will find itself slipping down the medal table as fast as it falls down the literacy and numeracy rankings.

Jan said...

Thank the lord it's all over...yet it isn't. We still have the paras to go. Have we been infected with a case of delusion? Thank goodness Radio 4 was not so badly infected. BBC Breakfast was about 99% sport. Why? I's not real news just a sort of drug for the masses to take their minds off things.

I'm with Peter Hitchen who said of the closing ceremony:

"Even if I'd been interested I would have been bored"

I have yet to see the point of sport. Maybe we should rig up some way of capturing the energy expended by athletes so as to save on our use of fossil fuel.

Anonymous said...

Sport is an anodyne topic of conversation - less trouble than politics or religion and has no pretentions to intellect. So on the golf course its a harmless chat, no-one threatened. Politicos claim to like sport for similar reasons and they think the masses will love them for it - dream on!. Meanwhile selling off the playing fields - watch what they do, ignore what they say.

Anonymous said...

Nick, I would mch rather play some sport than sit clouched in front of the idiots lantern, well I would if my legs would move themselves easiy, still I am nearly 67 so running is out, and a lot of gym work is out, if someone is really into a sport just does it, costs allowing, just watching a sport full stop does nothing healthwise, unless they one of those idiots who go to football matches, get totally rat and start fights, that is the only real exercise they get

Demetrius said...

I recall that in the "King Henry V" film of 1943 the Agincourt Battle scenes were filmed in Co, Wicklow with the French Horse being largely local farmers, reluctant to lend their cart horse to the producers.

Sackerson said...

EK: Brand is drug-free (now), he merely differs from Hitchens about how to combat them! I'm not sure his supporters have quite twigged.

Sports: one could argue that if we've managed to win a record number of medals with all these playing field selloffs and most of the nation turning into teletubbies, carry on.

Anonymous said...

IMHO it's rational to be a TV watching, fast-food munching and boozing tubby.

Why? Because that's what most folks do, so the 'tyranny of the majority' will ensure drug research and NHS care if focussed on illnesses due to sloth.

There is a comparison with finance. "Sensible" folks saved and only bought what they could afford. But the majority didn't, so now we have QE and mortgage support to bale-out the feckless while the saver is pauperised.

Just do what the mug punters do, then demand that politicians make it better or no vote!

Electro-Kevin said...

Sackerson - point taken but ...

I have failed to make very much money in my life. Would CU seek my (in)expertise on this subject ?

Brand failed to avoid narcotics. Why should we ask his (in)expertise on this subject.

Why not ask people who resisted drugs how they stayed off them ? Or their parents how they influenced their kids ?

I will bet the first answer will be 'because it's against the law and we choose to be law-abiding people.'

Anonymous said...

As far as Northern Ireland is concerned, the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) is regarded as being primarily a keep-fit class for terrorists.