As the term now has something of a rhythm about it and fewer work related messages need to be shared, maybe it’s a timely opportunity just to reflect upon World Cup Fever.
Sport, and particularly watching sport, does have a significant impact upon our lives; good and bad. Generally, it doesn’t just make for great television, watching sport can deeply affect us and can impact upon our mental health and well-being. I know it really shouldn’t go that deep, but many of us do feel strongly about the sport that we follow, the team for which we might have a passion or sports personality we adore.
And so, rightly, let me start by saying congratulations to the England World Cup losing finalists of this summer. Many of us took time to watch quite a number of the games, across the tournament – not just England games. The entertainment and the quality of the football were outstanding. I think a whole new audience was reached by the exemplary BBC coverage. I do hope that many of our younger girls and boys can be inspired by the England women’s team and everything that they achieved. Their success represents years of hard work, discipline and a great deal of resilience attributes we would want to encourage in our children and young people.
If football is not your thing…
You’ve got the rugby World Cup to look forward to. It’s underway right now and most of the Home nations put in a fair performance on the opening weekend. England did particularly well, considering their recent poor form. There are some question marks of the discipline of one or two players (and the new bunker review system) but there’s hope for some degree of success over the next six weeks or so.
And if rugby is not your thing…
There’s World Cup cricket just around the corner – it’s the 50 over format and England are presently world champions. It’s going to be a terrifically difficult job to retain/regain the crown as there are so many teams who have lifted their game since the last World Cup and, not least, because it’s being held in India. India is a cricket obsessed country. The crowds will be enormous and very passionate. More important than that though is that the conditions will be significantly different ground to ground as the teams move around the country; will the pitch suit the spinners? Or favour batting? What about the seamers? Creating real challenges for the players. It’ll be enormously entertaining.
I’ve written in the past about the impact that sport can have on us all. And above I had touched on how watching sport can impact upon how we feel; in the present and more deeply. I know that certain sections of the community take more from sport than others, but, as a women’s team in the summer showed, if you make watching sport enjoyable and accessible it can reach the places other media do not get to.
I do hope, also, that all of this great sport encourages our children and young people to have a go themselves. I read a lot about the national obesity crisis. That may be the case. I don’t necessarily see it in our schools and in the college but it’s maybe what’s been stored up rather than what we see that’s the issue. If our children and young people become used to a sedentary lifestyle, then it can be very difficult in middle-age, as many of us know! However, if they establish really good habits around eating, sensible lifestyles and engaging in sport, then as the years pass, the challenge of maintaining a healthy lifestyle will be lessened somewhat.
You may want to watch some sport this weekend (although I may want to avoid the Championship football – see Middlesbrough’s league position I’ll just have to go out for a run between 3-5pm on Saturday). I do hope that in addition to watching you do get the opportunity to partake in something which gets the heart racing just a little bit.
‘It’s amazing what the power of sport does for children and communities’. Martin Brodeur
‘Together with a culture of work, there must be a culture of leisure as gratification. To put it another way: people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport’. Pope Francis