Wednesday, 19 October 2022

Sport should be for recreation.

It should not be a career.

I admit I take very little interest in sport. It simply doesn't interest me. The Senior Cat was the same. We never watched it. He never had any idea who had won or lost anything. Brother Cat and I might know who has won something - simply because the information was in the news and we have heard it in passing. Even Middle Cat, who played both softball and hockey at state level, does not watch sport on television.  I suspect the Black Cat might but her television watching habits are utterly different from the rest of us. We just can't be bothered. 

I know one of the things which bothers all of us is the ridiculously high amounts of money that "sportspeople" can get for playing and for "sponsorship".  Yes, it is nice that you have developed the physical ability to hit a ball, catch a ball, run, turn a somersault, jump, or run faster and better than most people can dream about. It is good you have put all those hours of training in and that you were so disciplined about it. But, for what? 

It is non-productive. Sport should be a game. It should be recreation. Even if you are playing in a team and want to win it should not be an almost life and death matter where your every move is analysed, where you are berated for not shaving off an extra one tenth of a second. And, being at the top or near the top does not give you the right to tell others what to think or how to behave - especially those who are helping to pay you.

There have been more instances recently of high profile sports teams and individuals trying to push another agenda.  This has now gone beyond the demands that team wear "pride" jerseys or refuse to acknowledge an alternative version of history.

These stars and their teams want to be paid with the money associated with "sponsorship" but they don't want to acknowledge or support where it comes from? Then I say don't accept that sponsorship. It doesn't matter whether you are the individual or the team. If you can't acknowledge the support then don't accept the money.  I don't believe you should be paid for playing anyway.

When I was a mere kitten cricketers were not paid the way they are now. There were no million dollar plus contracts - or the equivalent at the time. You were just as likely to be served by a teller in a bank who was also a test cricketer. My paternal grandfather made suits for some of them. They expected to pay him what everyone else paid - and he expected to be paid. They did not advertise his business. Cricket was a game. 

Those cricketers gave up time now and then to do things like play against the children at the annual camp for disabled children run by the Girl Guides. My only achievement in the field of sport was at just such a match. (Yes, I really can claim to have bowled Sir Donald Bradman!) They did not get paid for that and it did not even get a lot of publicity. There was no sponsorship involved. It was just something they did if they were available. The banks many of them worked for "sponsored" them in the sense that they gave them the necessary time off to play. Practice sessions were after working hours. 

It is oh so different now. I don't believe it is any better. Now that money, especially such large sums of money, is involved other problems have crept in. I suspect it is the same in all so called sports. 

Cut the sponsorship. Cut the salaries. Ensure those who want to play at this level are trained for other employment as well. It might actually make a difference.

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