Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sports? Why?

People often ask me whether I'm alright in the head. I'm constantly ranting about cricket, basketball, football and generally any sport that I can claim to have remote knowledge about. I am (to put it another way) a sports fan. 'Fan' is derived from the word fanatic. Explains a lot about our tribe doesn't it.

I've tried in different ways to explain my passion for sport. This is the best explanation I can come up with - Sports is natural. It is evolution.

Through the years, man has always been striving to prove himself superior to the next man. In pre-historic times, man walked around with broken branches and beat up everyone who stood in his way, while on his way to fetch water from the nearest lake (ok I made this up, sue me). Years later, Kings rode to war, dooming the lives of several fellow men, for the sheer drive to prove himself to be better than the opposing King. Alexander the Great travelled the world, defeating Kings in war, just to prove he was the Greatest and could conquer the world. Hitler committed the gravest of crimes simply because he believed one race of man was superior to another. The United States wiped out Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II. Why did they use Nuclear weaponry? To prove their superiority to Japan and scare them into submission. Recently, we've had a bunch of terrorists in different parts of the world, killing innocent people simply because they believe that their 'beliefs' are better than everybody else's. This is the world we live in. One of violence. One of competition.

Meanwhile Sport has been evolving. From the time where Roman emperors looked on while gladiators killed each other in the name of sport, to Usain Bolt sprinting away to an Olympic Gold, sport has always been about one thing. Competition (and the occasional violence). In my opinion, it is no accident that as people have matured, morality has improved and democracy has set in, sport has flourished. Where there was once war, there is now sport. Kings, nobles and knights took immense joy in defeating one another on the battlefield through their soldiers. Today, millionaires and billionaires look on as the teams they own fight with each other on a different battlefield. One where almost all of them leave alive. Evolution.

The point I try to make, is that sport is nothing but a new medium to express the oldest natural urge of mankind - the need to prove superiority over one another.

Another reason I'm so passionate about following, watching, reading and tweeting about sport is the same reason we watch movies. To escape reality. Sometimes life is fun, sometimes life is great. But either way, most of us tire of our own lives and need to get away. Sport is that release. We madly cheer on our favourite teams. We cheer on our favourite players. They are living our dream. The dream of scoring a goal at Stretford end. The dream of scoring a hundred at Lords. The dream of scoring 50 points at Madison Square Garden. The dream of winning the superbowl. Following sport with a passion helps us feel alive. It makes us feel part of something special. It drags us away from our boring old lives and give us an immense of satisfaction.

That my friends, is why I follow sport.