Welcome to the very first posting of Sportsocratic. I hope you get a kick out of the content. In this “Not everyone is worth listening to” section I get my chance to have an editorial spray at either a subject in the news that has pissed me off or to fill you in a on some of the things that crop up in this edition of Sportsocratic that I think are important. In other words… it’s all about me. I can say what I want! While every issue will have its degree of opinionated piffle the editorial section will be the place where rubbish is most concentrated. If you don’t agree, I’d love to hear about it. Posted comments are not only wanted but craved. You don’t even have to be nice… though I would prefer it if you were. Along with having a big mouth I also have a thin skin.
Our first issue has two stories that I particularly think you will appreciate. Have you ever stopped to wonder how a profoundly deaf person can be a professional dancer? Anna Seymour’s story about her life as a sporting and human movement addict will thrill you, I bet. Discover how (as is the case with surfing) a dancer does not have to rely on music to move with great beauty and flow.
You will also get a kick out of the Secret Dad’s (name withheld to protect the guilty) story about how tough life can be for a talented young one when mums and dads earnestly try to juggle the needs of each individual in the family and the family as a whole. Any parent with a house load of sports loving kids just has to read this.
Peter FitzSimons puts on his “have you ever noticed” hat when he points out a number of sporting syndromes that we may not have identified ourselves. In his story Peter shows us why he is one of the most perceptive (and funniest) blokes in the world of sports journalism.
Take a look at the “The things that made me” section in the right column. Every issue we will feature an athlete, a sporting administrator or a coach who will provide some insight into the things that make them tick by describing some of their most important influences. In this issue we take a peek at the things that have made Jana Pittman what she is. Jana is already one of Australia’s most important athletes but if she wins selection for our Rio team this year she could well go down in history as one of our all time great sports heroes.
In our “What does it mean” section (also in the right column) each month we will feature an odd phrase or expression from the world of sport that’s meaning can do with some clarification. I love the way sport generates really creative use of language.
There are also a few bits and pieces from myself and from my friend Tim Edwards. I will leave you to judge whether they are worthwhile or not.
Before I set you free to have a browse through the first edition of Sportsocratic I want to make a quick comment on why I think sport and adventuring are so important. Yesterday I heard an academic on the radio say that sport and recreation are key elements of possible future programs that might deal with and possibly even eventually cure dementia. Today I heard a prominent politician on the radio say that his finally dealing with his depression (at least partially through sport and exercise) has given him the best four years he has had since he was twelve years old. The very next guest on the radio program was talking about her book about dealing with grief (she had a world record breaking bad year where she lost a twin, a parent, a partner, a dog, a cat and sundry other items all in the one twelve months) and one of the keys to her recovery was walking and walking and walking (and rowing) all over the world. Sport helps with the self-esteem of the anxious, the strength of the frail and the self-belief of those who feel down. Sport is not only good… its great… important even… and necessary.
Sport is not just about being a good medicine that achieves much for the body mind and soul. It is much more than that. To paraphrase a very rude comment from a former professional surfer who was trying to make the point that he doesn’t just surf for the money or for all the other physical and psychological benefits he gets from it… “I surf for the same reason that I bat myself off within an inch of my life every day… I do it because it feels so good.”
He has a point. We can play sport for lots of good reasons but the best reason of all is because it makes us feel soooo good.