SPORT OR . . .

By Mattie Lennon.

Money spent on sport . . . it’s better than putting it into hospitals, into Consultants, into Doctors . . .”  (Michael Ring, on Liveline 13th August.)

Thank God I’m not in his constituency.

Now that the Olympics are  over I’m wondering, is sport all that necessary? Great thinkers, writers and philosophers, down through the centuries didn’t think it was.

Patrick Kavanagh reminded us: ” I have noted that in Ulysses, that compendium of common-place emotions and goings on, only the punter speculating on the result of the Ascot Gold Cup comes into the theme. So sport can’t have been very vital. Kavanagh would  have been aware of Lao Tzu’s warning; “The way of the sage is to act but not compete”.

 While Kipling referred to the flanneled fools at the wickets or the muddied oafs at the goals”. George Orwell saw sport as having nothing to do with fair play but: “… bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness and disregard for all rules”.

R.S. Surtees spoke of sport as “… the image of war without the guilt” and the Bard saw it in an even more sinister light (even when played by gods) who “… kill us for their sport”.

 Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes confessed that; ” My ramifications stretch into many sections of society, but never, I am happy to say into amateur sport”.

Will Rogers conceded  that “Income tax made more liars of the American people than golf”.

T. S. Eliot left the Taxman out of it but felt sorry for anyone whose only monument is “… the asphalt road and a thousand lost golf balls”.

You may not be opposed to the vote-catching, funding of sporting organizations as advocated bt Deputy Ring …Unless, of course, you are an octogenarian,  lying on a trolley, in the drafty corridor of one of our hospitals.

I’m not sure what Surtees meant by: “No man is fit to be called a sportsman wot doesn’t kick his wife out of bed on average once in three weeks”. But if his analogy with war is accurate, then Neville Chamberlain’s statement ” In war, whichever side may call itself a victor, there are no winners, but all losers”, should apply equally to sport.

William Cowper’s spoke of  “…  sport that owes it’s pleasures to another’s pain”

Don’t give up any interesting pastime, to sit shouting at the telly for weeks and then expect to take up where you left off. Remember the words of Peter Osgood: ” Women are around all the time but The Olympics  only come once every four years”.


One Response to “SPORT OR . . .”
  1. John Biggin says:

    A briliant piece. What sorr of a gobs***e, especially an elected one, would make such a statement? Like Mr. Lennon I too am thankful that I am not in his area. May God protect us from the likes of Michael Ring..