August 29, 2019 in Dag

Putting away my bats and balls

I like sports. I’ve always enjoyed watching sport. As an Aussie, my preferences are pretty local – Australian rules football and cricket are my go-to games. Though I don’t mind a bit of tennis now and again. And I can even get into more foreign-based sports like soccer and baseball and (even occasionally) American football (though deep down, I reckon my all-time favourite sport is that wonderful Irish conglomeration of just about every other game – hurling).

I used to love sports. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with the progress of my favourite football team – Collingwood (the mighty magpies). I was ecstatic when they won, devastated when they lost, and the world was at an end when they lost a grand final (and if you know anything about Collingwood, you’ll know they’ve lost a lot of grand finals).

When I was old enough, I used to go to every game I could. I would be up in the grandstand, cheering for all I was worth. And not just footy. Cricket was a religion for me as well. Boxing Day, you’d always find me at the MCG, cheering on the Aussies.

Things aren’t quite the same anymore. Sure, I still follow the footy. But if Collingwood loses, I shrug my shoulders and say, ‘Oh well.’ I think I’ve attended one game in the last five years. As for cricket, I can’t even get hot under the collar over the various cheating scandals haunting the so-called gentleman’s game. And my absence from Boxing Day now approaches twenty years.

So what has happened? How has my great love for these sports diminished so? I think there are a number of reasons.

Part of it is surely just growing older and finding other things occupying that space in front of mind. Work, family, etc. Compared to these, sport seems so much less compelling. Whether my teams wins or loses is hardly the earth-shattering prospect it once was.

But there’s more to it than that. When I was a kid, there was something quite magical about sport. The players were larger than life, and the teams seemed to represent something. It was like watching super heroes, battling for the greater good.

It’s not like that anymore. The players seem now more like high-paid businessmen, with their own agents and sponsorship deals. And the clubs are nothing more than names, like franchises. And everything else about it – the oversaturation in the media, the crazy amounts of money flying around as corporations attach themselves to try and make a buck, and especially the connections with the gambling industry, make it so much less appealing. So while I still watch the games at times and I’m not upset when my team wins, I can’t muster anywhere near the same enthusiasm for it.

It’s kind of a shame. Sport was so great when I was a kid. It was so magic. And in these modern times, when the world seems so full of so much negative energy, a little bit of magic is surely a wonderful thing.

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