Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Learning Sports

I was never really athletic at school, and my parents didn't watch any sporting events on TV, so I managed to reach adulthood with very little understanding of the rules of most sports.

Then I met, and subsequently married, my husband - who is interested in pretty much any sport you could imagine.

Talk about a change.

Now, I pride myself on the breadth of my interests. I genuinely like to believe that if there is interest to be found in a subject, I should be able to find it, and certainly millions of people find something compelling about sports. So. A personal challenge. Learn, and learn to love, at least some sports.

There's a twist in this tale, though, because we don't have a television. So instead of sitting and having my husband point things out on a screen, over the last couple of years I've been trying to learn sports from the radio.

I got into Formula 1 racing quite easily. It's essentially just a race. Aside from the fact that they change the rules every year, it's quite easy to follow: they go round and round in circles, with occasional stops and occasional crashes, and that's pretty much it.

I also love the Olympics (especially the winter events - skiing, etc) though for this I will go to someone else's house and watch the TV coverage!

I've found it harder to become involved with more complex sports. Example: the cricket. Andrew loves his cricket, and he's patiently explained the rules to me more than once, but I find that my ears just switch off when I try to listen to it. I'm sort-of interested in the results (as long as it's England playing) but when I try to follow what's actually happening, I simply can't translate from the commentary into positions on an imaginary mental cricket pitch.

Rugby is even worse, because it's faster, and it's simply impossible to follow if you don't know what they mean by all their jargon (though I did get a bit more understanding when we went to the cinema to watch Invictus... but I still can't follow it on the radio).

What's your favourite sport? Do you know of any that work particularly well on the radio?

I'm in Greenland! I promise to catch up on comments, and come round and visit you all, just as soon as I get home. I'll try to keep in touch via Twitter and my Facebook page.


Expats Again said...

It's always engaging to learn something new, like a sport. I'm the daughter of a university football coach so football was a big part of our lives. I was a swimmer, played softball, and now an avid golfer. But now that we're living in Germany, I'm learning and loving fussball (European football) or as we know it soccer. World Cup is fascinating!

smilla4blogs said...

Rachel, like you, we have not had a TV in years and watching sports is not a part of our daily life. My husband was captain of his college crew when I met him and, in those days, it was still a relatively new sport in the US. I'm still thrilled by the beauty of crew and I love to watch the races. I admire the cooperation and team spirit in the boats and the fact there are no stars. Everyone gives their utmost in every race.

Anonymous said...

I grew up with a passion for baseball and football (no, not the sissy American kind). Real football, with the ball and the goals and the amazingly ecstatic fans. It's not such a big sport here in America as it is in other countries. I played and enjoy watching both sports.

I learned how to at least follow American football because of being in marching band in high school. I figured if I had to sit through the games I may as well learn to follow what was going on.

Sadly, I cannot answer your second question. I can't think of anything other than types of racing that are good for radio, it's just not the same as watching them.

Writing Without Periods! said...

Good for you for getting involved in sports.
Very important.

SilverNeurotic said...

One of my goals for myself is to learn about a sport and follow it, I'm thinking either basketball or hockey. I think American sports like football or baseball are easy to follow on the radio, but I don't know a whole lot about either one.

ScoMan said...

Cricket is great. But I can see your difficulty. If you haven't seen much of the game and you're trying to learn via radio, it's hard to imagine where people are and what the commentators are describing.

I especially love the cricket when Australia beats England. When England beats Australia, it wasn't important and we didn't want to win anyway.

Jim Murdoch said...

I played rugby at school but only because I was a sprinter – the fastest in the school. I was a winger and so basically I spent the entire game jogging up and down the field until the ball finally reached me at which point, having no one to pass the thing back to, my job was the run like the blazes until I scored a touchdown or got tackled. I don’t take much interest in sports now. Even then I never watched rugby; there’s a world of difference between being a spectator and being a participant.

The only sports I watch nowadays are a bit of snooker or tennis if they happen to be on when I’ve a few free minutes. I don’t follow them and I wouldn’t shift my life around to catch a game. As an adult I got into badminton for a while but although I still have the racket kicking around somewhere it’s been years since I played.

As for sports on the radio, I’ve never listened to it. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to unless they had a bet on the game.

Mademoiselle Poirot said...

Greenland? How cool! I bet the weather is better there than here ;-) It might sound silly, but I don't actually watch or listen to any sport, it just bores me... trying things myself is different, that's fun. White water canoeing, motocross, volleyball, tennis, handball, cycling, swimming, boxing...done it all and enjoyed it, but wouldn't watch any of it on TV... Enjoy Greenland, Love from London x

Kel said...

Growing up, my life was all about gymnastics. But I really don't think they have radio commentary for that anyways. Plus your husband probably wouldn't consider it a sport. My husband enjoys listening to Hockey games on the radio. But, like you, I can't really follow the commentary.

Deirdre said...

American Football is the only sport I can find interest in. And I only hold the interest if I'm watching it on Television and it's my home team playing. :P

Other than that, no sports interest for me.

Elizabeth Braun said...

I identify with a lot of this, from being not much use at school games, to not having a telly, to not really being able to concentrate for long when someone talks at length about sport (thankfully, my hubby can take or leave it, he's interested if it's in front of him, but wouldn't search it out). Don't worry, you don't *have* to be into everything, it's OK not to be interested in something.=)

Bibliomama said...

Baseball, because of my newly-ten-year-old son and now my daughter. Soccer was a mystery to me. Hockey doesn't really capture my interest. But baseball has a beauty and logic to it that I love. And my son kicks ass at it.

Darlene said...

My favorite sport is baseball. I love to listen to our announcer on the radio. Even though our team is currently in last place, when someone gets a hit or makes a great play, he makes it sound so exciting and like it's the greatest play ever. It always gives us hope, that maybe, just maybe, we will win! LOL.

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