Have you jumped
on the sporting bandwagon yet? Many have, of course. Sports everywhere
these days. Its hard to escape. And the range of sports is vast,
and ever increasing. The Olympics welcome new sports into its fold every
four years, and although most might seem pretty moronic, you cannot
take away from the fact that somebody somewhere has spent time and money
promoting their little hobby to international status. Maybe youve
invented a sport yourself. Even if you havent, if you want to
get involved, theres more choice than ever. Perhaps youre
already involved. You might, for example, play for the village cricket
team, and think fondly of those golden summer weekends swatting at a
little red ball. Maybe you play for a local rugger team and like nothing
better than bouncing your beer gut around a muddy field. Or perhaps
you only play darts for your pub team and like nothing better than enhancing
Chances are you only watch sport. You might be a season ticket holder
at Old Trafford, and dream of that time you saw Ryan Giggs scorching
in from the left, past one, past two defenders, to smash the ball into
the net and score a third goal for United in a crucial cup match. Perhaps
its a recurring dream. Perhaps you insert your name in place of
Giggsys. Perhaps you choose a different sport. So substitute.
It doesnt matter. Its a dream, right? What harm can it do?
Its not going to happen for real, is it? You know very well that
youre not really ever going to do it. You know that real sport
-- thats professional sport, none of your playing the occasional
set down the municipal tennis courts, or struggling down the odd black
run, or your ten-odd handicap -- real sport is not for you. You cant
really know a moment like this. Very few can savour that. Only the elite.
The best. The heroes. The legends. You are none of those things. And
you never, ever, will be. Youre merely average. Actually, a bit
below average. Youre mediocre. Poor. Hopeless.
And thats the point of sport. It serves only to make you feel
useless. You shouldnt dream about it. You shouldnt watch
it. And you certainly shouldnt do it.
There are those who say that going to see the best of the best
is in someway transcendental, and that something marvellous can be learned
from watching a human being perform at the height of its powers.
This is, of course, gibberish. What going to see the best of the best
does is to reinforce yet again the fact that you are very
far from being a human being at the height of your powers, and that
you are, in fact, pretty damn pathetic. Going to watch sport brings
home the fact that you are a flabby-arsed bumbling incompetent who,
if you had any sense, should be praying for death. Thats why therapists
dont usually tell their clients go and watch twenty-two
perfectly-bodied millionaires run about for a while that should
improve your self-esteem. On the contrary -- its self inflicted
mental cruelty. The best you can hope for is worry and depression, interspersed
with periods of rage. Its deeply damaging.
Even thinking about sport can reinforce this feeling of hopelessness.
So dont. Some bizarre individuals will tell you that they derive
some sort of perverse pleasure from watching these sporting freaks perform
or that they enjoy thinking about their favourite sporting
moments. But you dont want to hang around these deviants.
Theyre just masochists.
How about playing sport? Surely this is beneficial? Well no, actually,
it isnt. It merely adds to the already enormous burden of mediocrity.
When was the last time you played golf? Or tennis? Or tiddlywinks? And
that time or the time before, or the time before that
did you come off the field of play thinking Yep, that was me playing
at the height of my game everything came together that time.
Im pleased with my performance. Or did you think Hmm,
my swings still crap. Must be the clubs Ill get a
new set? OK then, I hear you say what about improving your
fitness? Surely sport helps your fitness? Codswallop. That too is a
complete lie. How many man-days days which could be far better
used putting together some sort of important marketing assignment or
something -- are lost through incompetent sporting dabblers turning
a knee on the tennis court, or having javelins pulled out of their heads
or whatever? Ill tell you how many. A lot. Thats a fact.
And if theres anything thats going to make you feel useless,
its turning up at that important meeting with a squash racket
through your neck.
The most important thing about sport is, of course, not to bother with
it. By all means attempt to extend your life by a few months, if you
must walk up hills, lift a few weights, whatever: but dont,
please dont get involved in sport. Dont play football with
the lads. Dont play squash with your workmate. Dont even
play darts down the pub. Its not worth it. Leave sport to those
who can do it properly and let them get on with it. And dont bother
going to watch them do it. It just encourages them. What you should
be doing is absolutely nothing. In the long run, its better for
you, both mentally and physically.
NEXT WEEK: Which long-distance ciggy? Top marathon runners reveal their
© Oliver Moor 2001