Not me. I love sport. Not all sports, but most.
I really enjoy rugby and other contact sports. I also like strength sports and the field games at athletics events. Skating, surfing, snowboarding and other extreme sports are also great fun to do and watching.
I don’t particularly like football though. Never have. And during primary school I was considered to be one of the non-sporty kids based on the fact I never wanted to play football.
In fact football was pretty much the only sport we were offered in primary school, the rugby and other sports I eventually got into didn’t come about until secondary school when we were offered a much wider choice.
But for a lot of kids sport isn’t something they find interesting. Or at least they don’t enjoy doing what they deem to be sports.
My niece hates sport, so she tells me. But in the same breath she also says she loves rock climbing, abseiling and canoeing. Since when was canoeing not a sport?
In her head it isn’t. In her head, and many other kid’s heads, sports are the games you do in school and see on TV. They are football, cricket, rugby, netball, hockey and athletics. No more, no less.
If all you know of as sport are those activities and you happen to dislike them then its quite easy, and logical, to come to the conclusion that you hate sport.
In my nieces case she has never had the extreme sports she loves doing labelled as sport. Sport is PE and PE is one of the activities listed earlier. The stuff she does in school during PE is sport.
This obviously indicates an area of school life that needs to change. Kids need a wider variety of sporting activities put on offer. Something more than team games that pit one against the other.
Modern school life is a stressful and competitive environment, do we really need to make young people compete even further on the rugby pitch or tennis court. Sport doesn’t have to be competitive, does it?
If you talk to a surfer and ask why they surf the answer will be a personal one. One of self improvement and a ‘oneness’ with nature. A surfer doesn’t try to beat the others on the water. They are there for themselves.
Before anyone writes in, I know there are surf competitions. But the choice to compete is just that, a choice. In football you either play a game or you don’t. There’s no way of playing a game of football without competing in some form.
Juggling, snowboarding and other similar sports share this non-competitive angle with surfing. The only competition is that of competing with oneself. Trying to juggle three balls for just one more throw or master a new slope on the snowboard. It’s all about self improvement.
Why are these sports not taught in schools on a more regular basis?
Team sports have their place and some people thrive in those sorts of environments. But they are just one example of the myriad of possibilities available. Team sports should be just one option offered alongside a variety of other sporting activities.