Tag Archives: Sport

PW Crigglestone

Day 211

Despite my dislike of most modern sport, I have been drawn to the Commonwealth games. They are slightly different from the slick World Championships (as seen last week) or the massive political  production that is the Olympics.

This morning we had an English gymnast clinging on grimly to take silver despite injury, the English pairs were the first home in the Triathlon (Visually Impaired), with Northern Ireland taking 2nd and 4th in the Women’s event (they are twins). Wales took 4th in the Men’s event and an English pair were fifth despite having to repair a puncture in the cycling section.  The male winners were unplaced at the Olympics after their chain snapped and the woman VI runner had a painful stitch during the running phase, which she ran off.

That’s a lot of news, plenty of drama and some human interest.

You know what the main story was on the news? Football. More particularly, our women footballers who are playing tonight. As usual, football trumps all other sports. As usual, I am tempted into making a number of comments on football being bad for sport in general, and for the moral health of the country.

A&BC Gum Football cards 1970

When my Dad died we were severely limited as to who could attend, and we had to sit apart, even though we had sat next to each other in the car for 60 miles, and we weren’t allowed to sing – we had to have recorded music. However, football fans were allowed to sit together in pubs to watch matches, hug each other and sing in each others faces. Two rules . One, strict, rule for a grieving family. One, relaxed, rule for football supporters. It’s a bread and circuses sort of situation isn’t it, with Princes and politicians  all pretending to be football supporters when it suits them.

One of my kids went to a holiday football camp some years ago. He went because his mates were going and because he liked all sports. He was laughed at by other kids for his boots (they were rugby boots but still did the job) and criticised by the people running the course (all part-time players from the lower leagues) because he would never be good enough to be professional. What sort of people treat a ten-year-old like that?

Sorry about the photos, I don’t have many relating to sport.

Topical Times Football Cards

 

More Serious Stuff – Deep Thought, Castration and the Importance of Parents

I started doing more thinking after writing yesterday’s post. There was a lot to think about, mostly about murdered teenagers. After bringing two kids up in a city that had a poor reputation at one time, you can get quite thoughtful.

Interestingly, the writers blame the Labour government for the various problems, where most of the people these days blame the Conservatives. That is probably a sign that we should leave politics out of the discussion.

Youth clubs, youth sports and such things are, at best, distractions rather than a cure. If you are keeping kids off the street they can’t get into trouble. When looking at funding possibilities I’ve often seen the terms “distraction” or “displacement activity”.

We had quite a few difficult kids at the various rugby clubs we attended. Some were the typical sort of inner city kid you’d expect to be in trouble (who we used to work with in Rugby League) and others, in Rugby Union, were much more affluent and better educated.

One of the things I noticed was that you could put a lot of effort in and make no discernible difference. I also noticed that if the parents weren’t engaged nothing seemed to work. That held good for all the kids – parents who were at work all the time were just as bad as parents who deserted their family.

So my solution to the problem is to put the family back at the centre of things. I’d also be prepared to think about castrating absent fathers who didn’t live up to their responsibilities, though it’s likely that this would be a last resort.

It’s about the basics – decent places to live, education, jobs, reducing teenage pregnancies…

I’m starting to sound like a beauty queen here, but I’ll stop short of advocating world peace and an end to famine. It is, however, a matter of some regret that I didn’t start thinking forty years ago – it might actually have made a difference at that point.

Does anyone have any good ideas?

 

What Does £32 Million Buy? (Part 1)

The easy, topical answer, is that it buys a Winter Olympic team, along with 59 athletes, four medals and the material for some great film scripts.

A crowd-funded bobsleigh team, crashing skater and an ice dancer who came back from smashing a kneecap – it’s all there.

I’m not a great sportsman, as you may have guessed from my photos and various comments on size and sloth, but every four years I rotate through Olympics, Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games. The kids make me watch a variety of World Championships, there’s the Rugby World Cup,the Rugby League World Cup and plenty of local news on skaters and kayakers who train in Nottingham. It’s hard not to get involved with all that around on TV.

Now, the question, as raised by National Treasure “Eddie the Eagle” Edwards, is, are we spending too much on Winter sports. We aren’t, it seems, a natural Winter Sport nation.

Unfortunately we aren’t naturally good at Summer Sports, cricket or football either.

So, where do I go from here?

I could go on to discuss sport, politics and the national mood, which always seems to improve when we do well.  It often improves when we lose too, as we all love an underdog and Elise Christie, though devoid of medals, has set an example of determination that’s a great example to the rest of us.

I could talk about sport and money. It’s a massive subject, and it has plenty to offer a cynic, particularly if, like me, you believe that the money would be better spent on developing better drugs programmes. If people want to run as fast as chemicals allow, let’s help them. I’m looking forward to the two minute mile.

However, for those who want to do it the old-fashioned way – hard work and dedication – I’d have a separate set of games. I’d also ban transgressors for life instead of handing them a short rest between games. Yes Justin Gatlin, I’m looking at you.

Finally, as we’ve sort of covered politics, cash and the cowardice of governing bodies, it might be a good time to mention James “Darkie” Peters. I’ll say no more. If you’re interested in the history of sport, apartheid and spineless administrators you will find it interesting.

In Part 2 I will look at what else you can buy with £32 million.