Modern Life is Irksome: kick it to the internet


It’s the rugby world cup, which always makes me nostalgic for my time in New Zealand.  Try as I might, I can’t give two shits about England’s non-performance.  I cared not a whit about rugby until I lived in The Land of the Long White Cloud.  There, it is written that thou shalt know and love rugby, and so it came to pass for me.  In a game between England and New Zealand, I will be behind the All Blacks every time.  I’m an involuntary traitor; a slightly sad one, since I still wonder whether it was a mistake to return to the UK.  I can hear my inner tangent-alarm ringing, so I’ll shut up about that now.  Because this post is about the proper place of sport.

I’m not anti-sport.  I watch tennis, rugby, American Football, and sometimes even – when I’m having trouble sleeping – snooker.  I cried a little tear when Mo Farah did the double at the Olympics.  Like many of their fans, on several occasions I have paid good money to go see the Cubs lose at Wrigley Field.

Sport can do great things for people, inspiring effort and yada yada.  It can also turn them into rabid tribal lunatics – such as with the loathsome sport of football in the UK.  I’ll let my tangent-alarm ring long enough to write that I cannot understand the appeal of a sport where 22 people lackadaisically push a ball around in mid-field for 90% of the game, waiting for someone to gear up the energy to make a run at the goal, at which point they hurl themselves at the ground and start crying.

The point of this post is my complaint about overwhelmingly disproportionate coverage given by TV news to sports results and sport-strategy debates.  I know there are people for whom sport is a living breathing companion, and to humour them I can cope with a short sports bulletin at the end of the proper news, if the story is sufficiently big to warrant it.  In the olden days, I could even see the logic of there being a half-hour football results program featuring something known affectionately as the Biddy Printer (I know not why) so that fans of Inner Dribbling’s football team could find out how badly they got thrashed.  After all, there was no internet.

However, times have changed and people can look these things up on t’internet if they wish.  Under these circumstances, I find it extremely difficult to accept a thrice-hourly sports bulletin on TeeVee when I want to find out whether Kim Kardashian has had another baby yet.  It is doubly irksome when the story pertains to a local team in my area and is covered on the national sports bulletin and then ten minutes later in near-identical fashion on the local sports bulletin.  ARGH.

I find it particularly ludicrous that sports stories are now often presented in the day’s proper news headlines, displacing stories about, say, Russia quietly annexing the Crimea.  Instead, I have to hear about how David Beckham blinked and the resulting breeze caused his wife to fall over.

But if BBC Radio 4 stops broadcasting the entirely irrelevant Shipping Forecast, I will cry.

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