Monthly Archives: July 2012

Bewildered by the Olympics

I don’t understand sport. I can understand the sheer joy of running, bounding through the early morning sunlight for the joy of being alive, glorying in being able to run and jump – I can understand it even though I can’t run at all.

I can, and do swim. I have no interest in watching anyone else swim. I care about whether or not I have improved my style or my number of lengths, possibly even my speed, and if someone else is trying to improve their style or capacity I care about that too, for them. But even when I am swimming, I don’t care if someone else is faster than me. I can’t see the interest in whether one swimmer is faster than another.

And when it comes to countries competing against each other – I really don’t see why it matters!

The one sport I do understand and enjoy is tennis. A well-played game is wonderful to watch. I can relate to the individual players as it’s one-on-one, I can see how their personality shows in the way they play – and I support the player whose personality I like and whose play is interesting. I don’t support a player just because he happens to be British, if he doesn’t have the qualitites I would support anyway.

So the Olympics for me is a total waste of effort. I don’t understand why all the fuss. I object to all the political and financial shenanigans around it, but the real issue is that my world has been completely taken over by something I find utterly incomprehensible.

Competitiveness. I am competitive, I play a highly competitive game of Scrabble; I used to play Bridge and a variety of other card games. I have been known to play chess. But my interest is not in beating the other person but rather in developing my own game. My real opponent is myself, would I, having the same letters or cards a year ago have done as well as I have done today? Has my play improved? When I lose, I’m learning; when I win, I’m demonstrating what I have learnt. I want there to be a balance of losing and winning. It would be miserable to be learning all the time and never to achieve; equally, it would be unsatisfactory to win all the time and never be challenged into new learning.

When I was growing up, it was clear that my parents had different views of what it meant to be competitive. The view I developed came from my father (who taught me to play bridge), my mother’s view was very different. If she couldn’t win, she didn’t want to play. Winning, beating the other person, was important to her. It isn’t to me.

So all this fuss about the Olympics just leaves me cold. If I don’t care about winning, why should I care who wins in a sport that I have no interest in anyway? Most sports, even if fun to do, aren’t particularly fun to watch unless you have an interest in who wins – since I haven’t, there’s no point.

People object to sex being shown as an activity on the basis that it’s pornographic, prurient. I object simply because it’s boring. It’s not a spectator sport. Fun to do, but not fun to watch. I feel the same about most sports.

So that’s that. I just have to keep my head down and wait till it’s all over. Life is due to resume in September. Thank goodness for that!

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