Friday, 25 July 2014

That Time Of Year Again

I won the bean bag race at sports day every year from 1980-86.

It's that time of year again where we do lots of handwringing about why women don't involve themselves in sport all that much. I'm listening to women who have chosen to be professional sport people discussing/judging those women who don't involve themselves in sport. I think they're part of the issue (yes, I know I've spoken about this before).

I heard a lot of things from the professional sports folk today and they connected lots of things that I'm not so sure about. 

Sport is not the same as activity or fitness. 

Not wanting to involve yourself in sport isn't the same as being unhealthy.

Not wanting to involve yourself in sport doesn't mean you're lazy.

Not wanting to involve yourself in sport doesn't mean you need to be educated.

Not wanting to involve yourself in sport doesn't mean you eat unhealthy food.

Not wanting to involve yourself in sport doesn't mean you don't know how to cook.

Not wanting to involve yourself in sport doesn't mean you lack intestinal fortitude.

Not wanting to involve yourself in sport doesn't mean you're scared of competition. 

Not wanting to involve yourself in sport doesn't mean you're not strong, whatever that means. 

Not everything is a this or that issue.*

Lots of people have no interest in playing sport and it's nothing to do with laziness, or not having a role model, bad parenting, money, or not wanting to take you clothes off in public. I was very sporty at school, I have no idea how that happened. I played hockey, did athletics, gymnastics, dance and inexplicably rounders and represented the school. I don't know how it happened, it just did and once I was in I couldn't get out. I wanted to play badminton but for some reason it was not to be. why did I stop playing sport when I left school? I have no idea, possibly the same reason I stopped wearing a tie every day, I didn't have to.

Doing something doesn't make you special, or better than anyone else. If you play sport/ lift weights/ crochet/ eat meat/ don't eat meat/ have no mortgage/ cook from scratch/ live off grid/ anything else and it makes you feel good then that is delightful, it doesn't mean it's delightful for everyone else. Even if it would be delightful for everyone else, judging people or acting as though you know better isn't going to help. 

I suppose what I'm wondering is whether sport is important at all and whether we're saying "sport" when we mean something else. 

*I realise that I'm talking about sport, but not just talking about sport. 


  1. Some of us just aren't competitive - I am not perhaps because I always tied for last place in any running races with a girl called Madelaine Turner (wonder if she will see this and know who I am as I haven't seen or heard of her for 60 years!) I enjoyed playing games but never cared whether I won or not and it sometimes seems to me that we have lost touch with the ethos that it is not the winning that matters but the taking part and not everyone wants to take part - we can't all want the same things or there wouldn't be room on the playing field for us all!

    1. Thanks, I think that's a really good point.

      Sometimes there are things we just aren't all that bothered about, sometimes there are things that we like well enough but can take or leave them. We also define achievement in different ways - starting, finishing, winning, doing something alone, doing something as part of a team, having fun, or just getting through something are all forms of achievement aren't they.

    2. Indeed! I read a quote somewhere that said if you have made one person's life a tiny bit better in some way then you have succeeded. I like to think that I have managed that along the way so now that I have succeeded I don't have to worry about winning anything! Whatever you feel is an achievement for you IS an achievement whatever anyone else says.

    3. What a lovely sentiment.

      I read a book about Warren Buffett, it discussed his thoughts about judging your achievements based on either the internal or external scorecard. I think it's a really good way to look at things. When it comes down to it what we think of ourselves, our internal scorecard is more important than anything else. If we know we have done our best then that's all we need.

  2. I'm not a sporty person even though I played in the Skittleball team, Netball team and also played Badminton, snooker and Tiddleywinks (at Youth Club). I also won an Obstacle race because I could squeeze quite easily through the base of a bench. The first 2 sports were because I had to at school, the next 3 because it was a means of meeting and beating the 'boys' and the last one because I was the smallest girl in the class! In fact nothing to do with loving sport at all.
    Love from Mum

    1. More of your talents revealed Mum!

      I think I probably made the school team for things because I never forgot my P.E kit