As regular readers of this blog will be aware, in between dealing with the manifold joys and tribulations of being a new dad*, when I get the opportunity I also enjoy watching a bit of sport.
Much to my wife’s dismay this summer has been jam packed with sport to watch, from the thrill/depression-fest of the Euros (depending on if you are Welsh or English!), Murray’s heroics at Wimbledon and now the Olympics in Rio, it has been a back-to-back summer of super-sporting-action. So, in true Tired Daddy style and with the start of the new Premier league season (and a glorious 8 months of MOTD Saturday nights ahead!) I thought it would be worth putting together a list of some of the reasons why watching sport is good for you. Hopefully my wife will read this and it will finally convince her that watching a tactically fascinating (i.e. boring) nil-nil between Burnley and West Brom is the perfect romantic way to spend a Wednesday evening. I also hope it might also be a useful tool for other dads out there who like me have the ability to become completely obsessed with whatever sport is on the TV at the time, and need some help to convince their better halves of the value of exposing their children to it from as early an age as possible…
- Brain development: Anyone who has tried to watch the track cycling at the Olympics will know that understanding what the hell is going on during the omnium is like trying to do a level 10 difficulty Sudoku puzzle, without a pencil, whilst being spun round in one of those G-force machines they use to train astronauts. The sport is insane, almost as complex as trying to understand what Pep Guardiola is doing with his fullbacks for Man City, and so surely demonstrates how sport can be used to train malleable young minds to be super clever.
- Geography: I got an A at A level geography (humble brag of the week there!), and I credit that not with revision or good teaching… no I believe I have the 1980s Panini sticker albums to thank. Growing up in rural Derbyshire if it wasn’t for the football league I would have had no idea about where Luton, Ipswich or Dundee were… Add to that the incredible wealth of knowledge we can learn from international sport and the Olympics, and surely it is clear sports fandom is the best route to a knowledge of the world.
- Critical thinking: This is a bit different to point 1, as I think critical thinking and in particular debating skills are a crucial life skill (as my friends and enemies know, I love an argument!) As a sports fan it is crucial to be able to construct an argument to back up your irrational love/hatred/opinions about your team… how else are you going to win that row in the pub about the pros of playing a 451 over a 342 Christmas tree formation!
- Bonding: Over the last couple of years I have got seriously in to Fantasy Football. I think the main reason has nothing to do with the game, but rather to do with the fact that it gives me a great reason to keep in touch with my friends…
- Catharsis: We all get angry at times, and as I am sure all the mums and dads reading will agree, sleep deprivation can make one even more in need of a bit of a cathartic outburst. So, rather than yelling at the cat or having a meltdown in the office, it seems much more healthy to get apoplectic with rage about a bad refereeing decision or a cheating Russian athlete… right!?
- Sleep: There is nothing better to lull one into a deep sleep than watching golf or listening to test match special…. And don’t even get me started on the magically soporific effect of a late night snooker session!
- Fitness: Let’s be honest, as a tired daddy it is pretty unlikely that I am going to be doing any serious exercise any time soon, however the adrenalin caused by watching other people sweat and the stress of a close sporting encounter must be in some way good for you… right? Well, according to this article in that most scientific of publications the Daily Star, watching football is good for you! http://www.dailystar.co.uk/diet-fitness/524749/Euro-2016-watch-football-match-TV-lose-weight-burn-calories
*For example, see my previous experience of “A Poo at the Swimming Pool”: https://tireddaddyuk.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/a-poo-at-the-swimming-pool-a-moral-tale/