Why does it matter?

Anyone else wake up feeling flat this morning following the game yesterday? Anyone else found themselves being unnecessarily grumpy, irritable, and frustrated? Anyone else then find themselves wishing they could snap out of if it, because ultimately, it is only a game of bloody Rugby?!
I am forty now and feel very lucky. I’ve got a great life, got two fantastic kids, a beautiful plus supportive wife, and am in good health. My parents are still around, I’ve got some decent mates, I have a very rewarding job, and in the past year, have been on some incredible holidays to places that I never dreamt I would get to visit. I actually love the in laws! In short, without sounding like I have got it made, I have absolutely no complaints about my personal or professional life. I wouldn’t change a thing, back hair aside.
Yet still, days like yesterday can really have an impact. I had been looking forward to this fixture for weeks. On paper an ideal start for Wasps. Newly promoted team, missing their new star signings, against a Wasps side, who were not a million miles from being full strength. On Friday night, having checked with my mate who likes a flutter, Wasps were 12-1 on to win their opening league game. I told everyone who would listen that Wasps were going to be victorious, and comfortably so.

irish celebrations
Fifty minutes in and I was knew it was as good as over. Wasps fought back, but it would have been daylight robbery if they got anything from the match in my view. London Irish looked more cohesive, better organised, and defended for their lives. Look at the second half stats, and it will tell a story of plenty of territory in the second part of the game but ultimately relatively little to show for it.
I will leave it to others to analyse the match, but the question I want to ask is why do we, as human beings, get so worked up over sport, when we have very little, in fact no control over it? I would like to think that some positive messages on social media and a few encouraging words to the players beforehand can help, but I would be shocked if they really made an impact. Yet week after week, many of us seem to invest both financially and emotionally into something we cannot control. When you look at it completely pragmatically, it is very odd, and actually a little ridiculous.
I would guess that for some it is a form of escapism, but I am sure I am not alone in feeling that I do not need to escape from anything. Sport has always had this hold on me. It used to be football, and now it is Wasps. Their result can make or break a few hours, both positively and negatively, and it annoys me that something I cannot influence does this to me. I see this experience all around me; reassuringly I do not think I am alone. I have friends and family who are obsessed by sport. You see the passion it provokes on the television, hear people become emotional on radio phone ins, read about joy and despair on social media. Sport makes and breaks people’s weekends up and down the country, but why? Why do we have this innate need as humans to be so invested and obsessed in teams and individuals in this way?

Wasps-fans
In short, why do we bother? In the grand scheme of things Rugby, and sport in general, should not matter. But it does. We know it does. And if you have read this, you probably think it does too, and like many, you will probably be back for more next weekend.

Let me know your thoughts on this. Thanks for reading.

6 comments

  1. Yes, it’s a mystery isn’t it. Why do this? Why Wasps? I guess deep down we all want to belong somewhere. I belong to some other club Facebook pages – Chiefs, Tigers, Gloucester even Sarries – just to follow what is going on for them, and you see pretty much the same kind of stuff. We all want to belong to something unique, and then we all do the same thing!

    Sport appeals to many because unlike the rest of life it is highly structured and designed to get a clear result. We know by Sunday evening whether we have won or lost. And it is addictive – it repeats week after week so that the few weeks between seasons lie heavy on the soul – unless of course you follow Yorkshire cricket in the summer, in which case invariably the joy and agony continue in a different guise.

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    • Thanks Jon. Yes, guess we do. You are spot on about the structure part, and that’s pretty addictive. Never thought of it in that way before.

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  2. I guess I’m lucky that, while I enjoy watching sport, I’ve never been particularly invested in one team or competitor. Even with internationals, I’m somewhat disappointed when England/GB’s involvement ends, but that’s about it. Maybe it comes from usually rooting for the underdog in any given contest – a habit which my LUFC-supporting son fails to comprehend – so mild disappointment is the most likely outcome.
    Anyway, nice to know that your mates are merely “decent” 😉

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