Sunday, 23 March 2008

Sport - The Final Frontier

An epic journey into the psyche of one man's struggle to hit a ball with a stick.

All this began thousands of years ago. In the beginning the only competition was the competition to survive, one survived by killing the other. That changed one day when one fella said "look, hunting would be easier if we did it together and then have a competition to see who gets the best meat. Say, whoever runs to that tree first gets the breast". The problem was the other guy didn't fully understand so, having won the race he promptly killed the first guy and ate him too.

It wasn't until the Bronze age that the concept of medals really took off as an idea for rewarding competition. While the idea existed before that, there was nothing to make the Bronze medal out of, so the idea sat on the shelf. Once the Bronze age came people started inventing all sorts of sports, not being killed eaten by the winner was a great inspiration to many people.

Some still say that throwing a pointy stick over a line has it's roots in hunting, the steeplechase is obviously the guy the running back through the jungle because his pointy stick only just caught the ear of the animal who is now quite annoyed and starts chasing the hunter.

The pole vault is technically the most complicated movement in any sport, the origin of the sport lies in black and white movies as a means of escape from prison. Though it has to be said there are no actual records of anyone escaping from prison with the pole vault. The obvious drawback being that the prison doesn't provide crash mats to land on. If a Sergei Bubka did find himself in prison one day it would be very interesting to see if he'd try it. Obviously the guards would be looking for it so he might pretend to be digging a tunnel and suddenly bolt for it, the old double bluff.

The second most complicated movement in sport is the golf swing. This brings us into the modern era of complex sports and high tech equipment. Tennis, motor racing, sailing, football and so on. Paradoxically the prizes in these events are even lower tech than the bronze medal. A cup, a plate or a little wooden block with a man on it doing the that you did to win that trophy. "Just to make it absolutely clear that you are the best at hitting a ball with a stick in this county, here's a small gold coloured model of a guy hitting a ball with a stick for you to keep. It's probably modelled on one of the family members of the guy who makes the trophies, we don't know if he plays but it's got your name on it now. Well done".

If I ever win anything like that I fully intend to shoot all the other players in the competition. It gives more of an edge to the victory, a real sense of having conquered all and ensuring dominance for the future.

Keep on swinging...