Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Golf shows me the life of the non sports fan.

Europe reclaimed the Ryder Cup yesterday, beating the USA in one of the most exciting finishes in recent years.

According to some golf fans, the Ryder Cup is possibly the biggest sporting event in the world after the World Cup or the Olympics.

As someone who doesn’t like golf, I find that hard to believe. Because I know the Ryder Cup is a major sporting event, I did watch a bit of the coverage on Sky Sports. I felt some sort of obligation as a sports fan to at least make an effort.

I didn’t understand what was going on, and more importantly I didn’t care. My overall indifference got me thinking:

‘Maybe this is what it feels like for people who hate sport’

I love sport. I’ve followed football, athletics, cricket, rugby, and tennis for the last 25 years. I grew up practising Karate and became a black belt. I belong to a badminton club and play every week to keep fit. Sport has been a major part of my life.

I’m always a little sceptical of other men who don’t like sport. If they’re into music instead that can sometimes make up for things, but to have no interest in any sporting activity whatsoever, I can only shake my head in confusion at that.

Obviously for all sports fans, there are those sports that hold no interest or appeal.

For me you can list golf and formula one under that heading, but golf’s started to appeal to me in the sense that it takes me into the world of the non sporting person.

This morning on BBC breakfast there was a live interview with Europe’s winning captain, Colin Montgomerie. Having no interest in what he had to say, I switched over to ITV, only to find he was also being interviewed on that channel.

Feeling annoyed I thought ‘who cares about all of this? I’m not interested’

I then realised that this is what your non sports fan has to go through all the time. That feeling of annoyance when a sporting event dominates the day’s news coverage.

The half hearted attempts to try and follow the sporting event in question, only to realise you don’t understand what’s going on, and can’t see what all the fuss is about.

This is what it’s like for sports hating people when the World Cup is on, the Olympics or an Ashes series. Now I understand their pain.

Watching golf occasionally, has always given me the chance to remind myself why I don’t like the sport. But now it allows me to briefly enter an unfamiliar world.

When I think of all the amazing sporting achievements I’ve seen, the emotional highs and lows that following sport has generated, it’s hard to understand that feeling of indifference that people who don’t like sport regularly have.

Thank you golf for allowing me to understand.

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