The problem with Sports

The Book of Sports was put out by King James I of England, the 'wisest fool in Christendom', in 1618 to be read in churches to encourage fun and healthy sports, including Sunday pastimes.

The Ministry for Sport today is most concerned about money, drugs, national glory, sports research, institutions, tribunals, administrations . . .


Sports can be stupid when:

    • when poor countries divert money, effort and national attention non-productively, regardless of their urgent needs
    • when Commercial sport takes up to a third of television news times, as well as making up most the specific sports-news that follows, even on national broadcasting.
    • when Pursuit of glory is taken to extremes, at the cost of other values.
    • when Gladiators become spectator sport. Sportsfolk are transformed into gladiators when spectators are waiting for spills, injuries and blood.
    • when Young people spend years of dedication going up and down and to and fro - although most of them do not even get into any finals events. Their youth has gone. Could they be dedicated to something else?
    • when Amateurs and the general population lose chances for games and use of playing grounds, because commercial profits govern sports.
    • when Gambling is the major reason for interest - about what may happen to players or horses or dogs or birds or machines
    • when Formerly outdoor games are increasingly indoors, instead of in the fresh air.
    • when The few play and the rest of the population are couch-potatoes watching.
    • when Strange and even painful things become pleasure and what is pleasant may not be recognised as such.
    • when The spirit of the old Olympics is lost in today's Olympics. For example, in the sort of Events. The original Greek Olympics were about training for the warfare of the time. They were about the skills of the warrior and hunter - running and leaping and throwing and hitting, with records for going fast and high and far and hard, and teams like hunting bands. The old Greek Olympics also included the culture of the time, with drama and poetry.
    • when Sports injure health, because of damage to gladiators, unhealthy drugs, instigating arthritis and rheumatism, after-effects when older, or affecting women's health and menstruation
    • when Sports are bad for the brain - through head-injuries, through dumbing-down, through having no time to keep the brain from going rusty
    • when Sports are about winning at almost any price, rather than playing the game with sportsmanship (no, not sportspersonship, see Language)
    • when News media are taken up with injuries and tribunals and commercial dealings rather than with the game itself
    • when Pressure is on to use drugs, to the extent that some even suggest making this normal
    • when breaking records by 100ths of a second becomes farcical. Make the criterion of a new record a minute's difference - and what will happen!
    • when Blood sports are called sports
    • when Horses are whipped during races
    • when Clubs have local names but no local players
    • when there is continual extension of Olympics status to fairly obscure sports which then become expensive issues - why not to SkilOlympics?

A note on SkilOlympics

It would be possible to extend modern sports to more people, and more sorts of sports worth earning gold medals for.

What sort of training do the young and fit need to be fitted for today, that can be turned into Olympic sports? What sort of exciting SkilOlympics, now that television can show to millions even the finest hand-movements of a skill? These SkilOlympics could be non-sexist, non-injurious, and help to train the spectators in sports too.

New Events could add Distinction to the Melbourne OzOlympicsContests in useful skills for modern life, ideal for modern television to show - more interesting than just figures or machines whizzing round and round tracks.These SkilEvents can be held anytime, including before or after the Olympics, so that tourists are encouraged to Olymptrip all over Australia. They need not be on the official calendar.

Suggestions made for new events such as Darts, Snooker and Foot-in-Mouth, could be extended to include: -

* The Arms Race - Imagine the illustration.

* How Silly Can You Get - 'HOSYG' sports - To have a laugh occasionally. eg, measuring a track with a banana-skin.

Useful sports, such as

* Headfreighting - with a jar on your head.

* Safe-driving, with obstacles such as bicycles, straw pedestrians, cars zooming in out of intersections without warning, red lights, slippery sections, speed humps, and a speed limit of 60k

* Generating electricity by exercise bicycle or windlass

Almost any skill can be developed for Skill-Olympics if a club can organise to arrange an event. Weed-pulling, cartooning, dishwashing racing against machines, monster jigsaws, tree-climbing, counter-checkout, window-display-making with materials given, impromptu verse, recitation, gift-wrapping, ditch-digging, toddler-training, DIY carpentry, carpet-cleaning -

And viewers could learn the skills by watching!

Addendum: I have just been advised that the LBW rules in cricket are stupid.