I just had a heated argument in the office about sport. The Olympics is on and someone said they think “sport is overrated. It’s just sport. There are other more important things out in the world.”
Of course there are. And of course it’s “just sport”. But “just sport” is what you make it. If you make it about big blokey guys whose biggest life skill is being able to run hard at each other or swimmers charging up and down the pool at the Olympics and “failing to win” gold, well that will be it. Open your minds sports haters.
I’m late to the whole use-your-body in sport thing. I started playing netball and running and exercising in my late 30s. Before that I would have to say I was a mental energy kind of person, not a physical energy one (that’s a lot of energy in the very confined small space of the brain 24/7. A LOT.).
I’m probably one of the worst goal defencers in the history of netball goal defencers but when I get out on that court my over-active mind does one thing. It concentrates on getting the ball. That is it. It doesn’t make a list of the things I’ve failed at that day, or go over conversations with people that were awkward, or look at tomorrow and start compiling the “To Do List”. My mind looks for that silly sphere and hunts it down. Simple. For about an hour my body jumps and leaps, often gets hurt, I run and call out, I try really hard and all I think about is getting that ball.
The same happens if I run, or if I go to the gym; I concentrate on what is right before me. I am truly in the moment and my body does the work until my mind needs to push me. It's one of the simplest relationships I have - kind of like the relationship I have with my dog.
That piece of sports peace is what I want my daughters to enjoy too. The older I am and the more I see how the world is building itself around them, how it closes in and demands so much of them mentally and physically, the more I want them to use their bodies. To see how amazing and powerful those bodies are. And to also have a regular piece (or pieces) of sports' peace in their week.