Thank goodness sport doesn’t take a holiday. That dollop of festive football we’ve just had was as good as anyone can remember and a much-needed snook cocked at advocates of a winter break. Just before Christmas rugby’s Heineken Cup was a bit tasty and another helping is just around the corner. Come to think of it, the Six Nations is only a month away. England are about to start a Test series against Pakistan in the UAE just as Australia mop against India and South Africa win their first series since 2008 by beating Sri Lanka at home.
Looking ahead there is the small matter of the Olympic Games, Euro 2012, an English summer of cricket, a new Formula One season. It’s non-stop. In Hawaii this weekend the US golf tour gets underway, the tennis season has started Down Under and people are already racing cars and motorcycles. Top-class sport simply doesn’t take a breath.
Watching sport is nearly as healthy as playing it
The Americans pride themselves that there are only two days in a year when none of the four main professional sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) are played. These aren’t Christmas and New Year’s days, or even Thanksgiving and Easter. It’s the days before and after the baseball All-Star game each July. That’s sport: wall-to-wall, 24/7, whatever the weather.
Never has there been more sport, you can’t move for it. Women are interested in it, politicians are aware of it. It is played, watched and consumed by every sector of society regardless of race, colour, creed or sexual orientation.
Sport is big business. Large, rich companies want to be connected to sport. Rich people want to be connected to sport. Sport is used to promote products that have nothing to do with sport. Sport is way out of the ghetto and a path to a better life. Sport is healthy, and sexy. The best-looking people on earth look the way they do because they take exercise, which is sport in its most basic form.
Lindsey Vonn: look what skiing does for you..
Sport has so much going for it you would think that there should be whole newspaper sections devoted to it. What? There were. Not for long.
Newspapers are content to fill their pages with minor-league politics from every corner of the globe, fashion, celebrity, gossip, business nonsense and even self-serving media drivel before you get to sport. The argument is that you can get it all online, but you can get everything online, including white goods and Brazilian fart porn.
Sport should not be cut back by the papers, be they local, regional or national. What else in 2012 is such a force for good, can bring so much enjoyment and unite communities and nations. If there is one thing that deserves a fair crack it’s sport. Just look at the calendar, it never stops.