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Back You are here: Home Sports Rugby Kwa Zulu Natal School Sport Cures Armchair Fatigue
Tuesday, 30 July 2013 09:15

School Sport Cures Armchair Fatigue

Written by  Jonathan Cook

BEEN guiltily contemplating writing this article for some time but feared betrayal of my lifelong love. Must confess, if not writing about a match, seldom bother to watch anymore. I do love writing about sport, most of the time, though.

The reason for my meandering is that I am suffering from couch potato fatigue. I can hardly bother to watch sport on TV anymore – heck, I would rather watch National Geographic’s 50th re-run of the inner workings of the dung beetle or buy Celine Dion’s greatest mis-hits (but they’re sold out) than stare mindlessly at the 100th match in the PSL, Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A and the rest of the La-la Land that is football’s endless string of matches. And I have never, ever, watched a game in the IPL and hardly ever bother with ODI or Test cricket anymore.

I used to feel guilty. Now I don’t care.

The reason? There is just so, so much that it loses its meaning. And it’s all about money for clubs, national sports bodies and spoilt-brat players. And we the TV public - by watching the bland, the mindless and the boring - foster its continuance. TV is turning the magical into the mundane.

A child of the seventies, I was brought up on radio – and Charles Fortune, whose genius with the spoken word puts today’s sports commentators to shame. I also had sports books, magazines and the newspapers to fuel the fire inside.

A boxing mag told me about Thulani “Sugarboy” Malinga of Ladysmith and Elijah “Tap-Tap” Makhatini of Stanger, while in weightlifting there was our own Precious McKenzie; and then there was the famed Indian spin quartet of the seventies. Off-spinners Srinivas Venkataraghavan and Erapalli Prasanna, plus the left-arm mystery of Bishen Bedi and leg-spin wizard Bhagwath Chandrasekhar. What names, what magic they conjured up!

I never ever saw them in the flesh, yet this lot persuaded my folks to buy me boxing gloves and books on the art of spin bowling. Books and mags fired my imagination then, as well as regular visits in the KZN capital to Woodburn, the Oval, Goldstones, Voortrekker and Jan Smuts (Harry Gwala) Stadium to watch my local heroes from nearby clubs and schools.

Back to the present: School sport has been my saviour.  Boys and girls play the game with enthusiasm. Win or lose is soon forgotten and they’re up for the next one.