I don’t have a particular hatred for them; I just do not have any urge whatsoever to participate in them. Or, if I’m being completely honest, to watch them either.
Being an Aussie, this seems to be a particularly difficult fact for people to deal with.
Early last year, I was on a first date when out of nowhere the guy turned to me with a confused look and asked:
‘So… what sports to do you play?’
I was stumped. Not just by the fact that this was a point of conversation, but that this was even a question for anyone who no longer had compulsory PE classes!
‘What do you mean none? What sports do you like then?’
‘Well… what do you DO then?!?’
‘Ummm… normal things, what do YOU do?’
Silence… ‘Good point’
I might add that this conversation occurred with someone whose sporting activities consisted of a weekly Frisbee game and riding his bike to dates… who was he to judge?
The incident, however, made me even more anti-sport and got me thinking about the cause of my total disregard for what is an inbuilt passion for most of the population… and when it comes down to it, I can honestly say it can be attributed to one thing…
Otherwise known as the most pointless sport on the face of the planet and one which I was forced (not even exaggerating, FORCED) to play for years!
Let me take you back for a moment to my childhood when I was attending a small Christian-obsessed primary school in Melbourne’s east.
They had fairly creative interpretations on how Jesus wanted us to live and by the time I had left at the end of grade 6, I was fairly certain of the following facts:
- The Wakefield twins from Sweet Valley Twins were actually the devil incarnate
- My new puppy was never going to make it to heaven because God didn’t have enough room
- Slap bands were evil (I’m not quite sure how, they just were!)
- If I didn’t get praying every night, there was a fairly good chance that I, too, would have lost my place in heaven by the time I started high school
Having said that, I did also learn a few invaluable things during my time there, the most useful of which was that if you have something stuck in your eye, blow your nose like crazy and whatever it is will eventually vanish…
And the least useful of which was that sometimes when you need a band aid and your school has forgotten to order more, it’s okay to just wrap your damaged body part in sticky tape and hope the bleeding stops…
But back to the story – team sports!
For the first few years of primary school, we had mixed sports, where we would all line up and walk down to the park to play rounders, or softball or go running. I was okay with this, I loved getting covered in mud and throwing myself in the line of flying objects.
But then came grade five… and new students… and one over-enthusiastic, netball-loving mother… and it was all over.
Every PE class, all the boys would line up and head to the park for ‘boy-sports’, while we were left to play netball in the schoolyard.
For two long years, they played this cruel joke on us, which involved having us ‘select’ our sports at the beginning of each term. Every term I would rate 1-9 every sport BUT netball, which I refused to acknowledge as a sport, yet every term I would end up Wing Attack (otherwise known as the dullest position in all of sporting history) in the midst of ten or so squealing girls who would cry if the ball hit them.
So I decided to take a stand against this absurd excuse for education! I would change the sporting curriculum and fight for the rights for girls to play whatever sports they chose!
Alas… taking a stand in a school of 100 kids doesn’t really go far and instead of leading our year level on an anti-pivot revolution, I found myself sitting alone in the shade on the only grade 6 mixed sport day, after an incident involving a protest against legionnaires hats and some badly planned chants…
But I was not done! This was just the beginning of my lifelong revolt against team sports…
I let things slide for a few years and actually made the odd effort to get involved. In year seven, I attempted that jumping thing over the stick and even swam in a swimming carnival (I’m not entirely sure this was voluntarily, but I’m taking it anyway!)… Then things started to go a bit haywire once again…
First, I got in trouble for pitching overhand in baseball and then got squashed when a large girl with fuzzy hair and a giant scab on her arm fell backward onto me when I wasn’t paying attention during some kind of marching event… Not long after, I got hit in the head with a volleyball and got reprimanded for kicking a squishy ball INSIDE the sports centre…
It was not going well… but I had not given up all hope… And then it got to year nine and they sent me to camp…
But not just camp, this was an eight-week camp I like to refer to as hell.
I got sick from the fresh air, then when I threw up in my bed the nurse found my chocolate stash in my pillow. I got in trouble for holding a chicken ‘offensively’ and was forced to apologise in French – to the French teacher… Porqoui? JE NE SAIS PAS!
I suspect they saw my disdain, my lack of cooperation and my total disregard for their completely ridiculous teachings… Because when it came to elective day, they told me the only option left for me was team sports…
I’m not joking.
So, first thing that morning, I marched myself straight over to the farmer and talked myself into his class on farm skills. Yep, farm skills… And I spent the WHOLE day with my hand up a cows arse!
But, you know what? That was a million times better than spending it running around after a ball, or swinging a bat, or pivoting…
And from then on, I quit team sports. I don’t and won’t play them, and as far as watching them goes… if you promise me LOTS of free beer and cute boys… I’m open to negotiation.