Why Are Men So Obsessed With Sport?

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Photo by Morgan David de Lossy on Unsplash

The old man is that breed of men that needs to hit a ball at least once a day. He delights in telling anyone who can listen to him (without falling asleep) about his childhood spent in the family garage, throwing ball after ball against its back wall. And while the sporting promise of his youth didn’t translate into a career, that need of a fix – to either hit, kick or knock a ball of any shape – hasn’t dwindled with age.

Since he began to work from home and has more flexibility with his time, his obsession has returned; which puts a lot of pressure on his most obvious opponents. Admittedly, The Princess takes some of the pressure off me by collecting and returning the hundreds of air golf balls he whacks into the back hedge of the garden, and he has made a couple of friends that play tennis with him or accompany him on silent missions around the golf course. However, I’m the unlucky sod that picks up most of the slack.

For our recent anniversary celebration in Bowral, I picked a quaint hotel with a nine-hole golf course, because, a feminist, I wanted to demonstrate that the romantic weekend was about both of us before we trawled around the main focus of the two days to the town’s mecca of interior design shops. img_8680

With a forced smile on my face, I followed him around what was a beautiful, scenic, (and thankfully) short golf course on our first day. In arctic temperatures, I searched for balls, complimented good shots, sympathized with bad, whilst maintaining a smile on my face at all times, my eye firmly on the prize of the hotel bar at the end of our two hours of hell.

The following morning, he was awake three hours before me, and when I opened my eyes to a bouncing puppy on the end of our bed, eyes pleading to let him play golf again and forgo his much-anticipated first-day cushion-shopping, I gave in.

We met up again later that morning, to play tennis – a warm-up for a grueling afternoon tour of the local wineries – and a sport that I have come to enjoy since I’ve learned to ignore his scathing comments and tantrums from the other side of the net. Nevertheless, it took some control not to laugh in his face when he suggested a game of pool that night.

Is your partner obsessed with sport?

And In Other Sports News…

The YouTube clip below has popped up on my newsfeeds a few times over the last week and refuses to be ignored. Trust me, you need to watch it with the sound on and then I want everyone to practice their tongue trills in front of the mirror – (see video at the bottom of the page for assistance). 

I sent the video over to ‘the girls’ as a suggestion of a retro experience together, but the leotard part of it didn’t go down too well. But watching these women strut their stuff reminded me of year 11 and 12 at school – a new school that I’d moved to for my HSC and originally a single-sex boys school that had recently decided to take in girls to demonstrate to the boys that another sex existed in those year groups. Looking back, the school was definitely still in the teething stage of their new venture.

Being a public school (paying, in the UK), there was inevitably a strong focus on sport. The boys played traditional sports – cricket in summer, rugby and hockey in winter – and the girls played netball and hockey.

Or rather, that was the girls that could catch or whack a ball accurately at their opponent’s calves with a stick. For those girls that weren’t quite as handy with their ball skills – although, there are balls, and then there are balls – there was the option of badminton or Jane Fonda Workout.

It’s strange to look back on those times now – more than thirty years ago – when I used to laugh off my total ineptitude at sport with humor, even though it hurt like hell never to be good enough. Sport is, unfortunately, one of those areas in which you don’t necessarily improve with practice – because God knows, I tried to make a team, ANY TEAM!

81829c25f818f7fb6ed986519133cb9eI have a long list of proud sporting non-achievements I could share with you – such as getting caught on the bus at the end of the annual cross-country run (for charity, no-less), home-goals, running in the wrong direction in Netball – but only one really proud sporting achievement. It was a brief period in my sporting career when I was selected to play for my house rounders team because the girl I was substituting had broken BOTH her legs. I have chosen not to dwell on my secret suspicion that she would still have been selected to play had only one leg been in plaster.

Anyway, in spite of the loser connotations of being assigned to the “Jane Fonda” group with twenty similarly uncoordinated girls, my memories of those afternoons are fond. I can’t remember breaking out in too big a sweat, but I do remember lolling around the school hall, grateful to be out of the cold, waiting for the boys to finish rolling around like pigs in mud so that we could oggle them in their rugby shorts and inhale their Deep Heat. However, we must have learned something, because when my aqua-aerobics instructor shouted out to us to grapevine the other dayit was almost instinctive – I knew exactly what to do.

Any sporting non-achievements you’re particularly proud of?

Compromise And Simmering Resentment In Relationships

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After almost twenty-two years of marriage, I’ve come to the conclusion that the success of most relationships comes down to how well you compromise.

Neither the old man or myself are strong in that department, but when I agreed to go on the ski holiday as ‘company’ for him, I appeased myself with the knowledge that I had scored myself a billion brownie marital points, free access to the Mastercard, another few glorious nights sleeping alone in Kurt’s bedroom and a possible trip to Swarovski. However, I did set certain conditions, too: I wasn’t to be forced to ski for more than two hours a day; the old man had to wait for me at the bottom of each slope, no matter how slow I was; I could laugh my ass off when he fell over and we were to stop at a mountain café or bistro every hour for a hot chocolate with swirly cream on the top.

However, in a most unfortunate turn of events, the old man, (the instigator of this seven day shambles of a ski holiday), tore his calf muscle on day two.

The Ski Nazi could ski no more.

(Bitter, much?)

Now I’m not the resentful type, but this development in events put the whole premise of our ski holiday in a worrying state of flux. Our esteemed leader couldn’t ski, therefore he couldn’t lead, yet he still expected his troops to risk life and limb on the slopes to get value out of the exorbitant amounts of money he had chosen to waste on something some people might define as a holiday, but which most of us know secretly is akin to purgatory.

Lorena Ochoa on the practice range during the ...
Lorena Ochoa on the practice range during the Women’s British Open 2004 Pro-Am at Sunningdale Golf Club (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On a scale of ‘one to as fucking miserable as you can possibly get’, NC and I have been close to the top end of that scale all week; at least until après-ski is officially unleashed. NB has diplomatically tried to jolly us along with hot chocolate incentives and promises of home-made Margaritas but it’s not the same without the old man to ridicule on the slopes.

We are grieving for the loss of the holiday we never wanted to go on in the first place and while the old man sits smugly in our over-heated apartment all day long, we are forced to crusade up and down bitterly cold, icy mountains, trying desperately not to break our neck on the way down.

And if things couldn’t get any worse, yesterday it started to snow while we were on the chairlift. So while the rest of the ski brigade punched the air in jubilation, NC and I felt our last reserves of fortitude dim that little bit more as we picked the snowflakes out of our teeth.

It just doesn’t seem right that the old man can catch up on every ‘how to swing your golf club’ archive on YouTube and pick his nails while we have to feign interest in the Christie turn with only the sagging ass of the oldest ski instructor in town to ogle at.

Men And Thongs

I have many good qualities, but I am not a good nurse.

Assorted colorful flip-flops.
Assorted colorful flip-flops. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over-anxious people like me, worry incessantly about things that usually never happen, so when (God Forbid) they do, we freefall, go into denial and try to play them down as a coping strategy.

 

The old man’s recent fractured rib is a good case in point.

 

Apart from last year’s incident, (when I chucked my guts up at the sight of the old man’s face after he left half of it on our courtyard paving), I am told that I appear quite calm in a crisis.

 

A little too calm.

 

‘You’re fine,’ I might have said as he re-entered the apartment this week, (having fallen down several concrete steps and landing on his back), grey in the face, obviously winded and bent over, doubled up with pain.

 

When the old man subsequently told his work mate that he had fractured a rib, his mate asked him if he is one of very small percentage of men in Australia unfortunate enough to get beaten up by their wives; such is the regularity of his accidents.

 

 

We had already considered this possibility – that people might draw this conclusion – and it does seem a tad unfair to me, that I should be branded a husband-beater when the simple reason the old man has suffered so many recent injuries is down to his lack of spatial awareness and coordination on steps in thongs.

 

This is a man who has played rugby for England (U18s), walked the Great Wall of China and met prime ministers, yet he cannot wear thongs and walk at the same time.

 

Was it only a year ago that we were sat in the ER after his infamous courtyard fail fall? Yet too soon we find ourselves here again, with the old man in so much pain that he walks slower than a tortoise on dope and can never seem to switch his ‘whinge’ button off.

 

He is seriously pissed off too. After three weeks of holiday he was on the cusp of beating his all-time record on the Stairmaster this week and may even have succeeded in losing his 500g weight loss target (of the past two years) if he gave up chocolate and crisps as well.

 

I’m certain that he doesn’t want to really be in my care, either. My nursing talents are legendary in our family, with diagnosis being a particular speciality.

 

When serious shit happens there appears to be a mechanism in my brain that reassures me that everything MUST be fine. When NC developed pneumonia I tried to stabilise her with junior Neurofen; when she broke her leg, I wrapped up the trifecta of broken bones in bags of frozen peas. She still blames me for her disfigured pinkie because I refused to believe it was broken.

 

In spite of the old man’s protestations that he will look like a knob, these are on our shopping list this afternoon because I’ve checked the life insurance and I’m not sure that being an uncoordinated dickhead is covered.

 

Men and Thongs

Public Swimming Pools – Ten New Rules

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swimming pool (Photo credit: freefotouk)

A polite message to my fellow swimmers, because it has come to my attention that when one swims to a near Olympian standard in a public pool, it is unfortunately necessary to share one’s water space with members of the public, who may not, necessarily, share the same rigid discipline principles.

I’ve been swimming professionally seriously, (for me), for almost a month now and I have become an expert on what the etiquette in the pool SHOULD BE. Like any sport, I fervently believe that there are simple, inherent rules that need to be adhered to, so that everyone can maximise the full potential of their training, and I would like to impose introduce a few special rules of my own:

  • Old people – First let me say that we love you and respect you but PLEASE stay in the f*cking slow lane. That lane (which is predominantly full of slow, age-challenged old people) is marked ‘slow’ for a reason. Let me reiterate that we are REALLY appreciative of everything you did for us in the war, but the whole point of lanes is that they have been created to cater for different swimming speeds, a bit like motorways, (although I know that you have problems with those too). If you ‘paddle’ or ‘float’ aimlessly, you have no right to be in either the ‘medium’ or the ‘fast’ lane.
  • Toddlers – please stick to your recreation area and stop swinging your arms, shouting with abandoned glee and generally spreading your pathetic mirth into the faces of the serious, focused swimmers in the other lanes adjacent to you.
  • Middle-Aged Women Who Think That Aqua-Aerobics Is A Sport – IT’S NOT! I’m glad you feel like you’re making an effort towards fitness by partaking in ‘aerobics’ (*spits in disgust*), but do you have to take up half the pool at peak times, leaving the serious swimmers to fight it out in single file lanes? You can’t seriously think you’re going to lose those wobbly bits flailing around in water, do you? You’d burn more calories walking to the coffee shop. And after your session, could you use the showers in shifts, please – a gaggle of over-50, naked women in the shower is really quite overbearing.
  • Anyone wearing a Band-Aid should not be allowed in the pool.
  • Just because you are wearing a swimming cap does not automatically give you ‘top dog swimmer status’ in the pool, the implication being that fellow swimmers should move out of your way.
  • Please don’t hog the wrong lane. If there is a jam of swimmers behind you, read the signs – YOU’RE PROBABLY IN THE WRONG F*CKING LANE, GRANDMA!
  • I would prefer it if children had their own changing room. I don’t want to listen to little kids having tanties about having to get out of the pool too early or catch them gawping in horror at my aging body when I’m changing. I have enough of a body image problem. Perhaps children under eighteen could  swim in a special children’s half hour between 5 and 5.30 am on a Saturday morning, say?
  • Power walking in the lane  – (WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT ALL ABOUT ANYWAY?) – should not be allowed. It’s what pavements are for.
  • ‘Landing strips’ are a necessity for all female ‘privates’ in the pool, and the upper thigh area of all men that wear those ridiculous ‘budgie-smugglers’ should be trimmed accordingly, (as well as back hair). I do not want to witness terminals 1,2 and 3 through my goggles.
  • Please don’t strip off in the shower if you’ve never heard of waxing, exercise or discretion. You can revel in your naked glory in your own shower at home.
  • Back-strokers – Just get out of the f*cking pool.

Anyone got anything to add?