The Dissemination of Thought

Just because it's in print doesn't mean it's intelligent…

Posts Tagged ‘golf

Sporting lessons and why zombies won’t attack if victory eludes you

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With many sports quickly approaching finals season, I think we all need a timely reminder that there is more to sport than winning.

There, I said it.

And I meant it.

I’ve spoken to several people representing a myriad of sports over the past few weeks and a disappointingly familiar message was sounding: sport isn’t as enjoyable as it used to be.

Lamentably, it wasn’t just competitors whinging about it.

Numerous spectators and fans of both local and professional sport have told me they don’t find watching the games they love as pleasurable as they used to.

One rugby league fan – who could best be described as a diehard-cum-fanatic – told me about how the recent State of Origin series caused him no end of stress.

The gentleman, who is a Queensland supporter, explained to me that he “bleeds maroon and football” but was finding it hard to enjoy watching the game he apparently loves.

“That second game [when New South Wales won 16-12] nearly killed me,” he recounted dramatically.

“I couldn’t sleep for a few days after it because I was so p—– off that those b——- won.”

When I suggested he was taking it a little too personally, he snapped back at me.

“Rugby league is life.”

Really, that’s the official line we’re running with these days?

Am I the only one who noticed the sun still came up on the Thursday morning following the loss, just as the sun rose on the horizon for New South Welshmen after the Maroons won their seventh straight series on July 5?

Following the 21-20 thriller at Suncorp Stadium, a friend suggested on Facebook that it was the best day of his life.

This is a guy who, according to his error-plagued social networking post, had never experienced anything greater in his 30 years walking the earth.

While I’m a sports fan, a football match – or any sporting event for that matter – doesn’t count in the top 100 things I’ve done in my life.

I don’t think it should for anyone, and that’s where I think we are going wrong.

The more I listened to people’s tales of woe, the more I thought about it until I finally came up with what I believe to be the cause of the feeling.

People are taking their sport – and themselves – far too seriously.

Whether you are watching or participating, be it a junior game or World Cup final, sport should be fun.

If it’s not, you’re doing it wrong.

Throwing your equipment is a sign you aren’t enjoying your sport as much as you should be. If your nine iron is in a tree, it’s time to take a deep breath. Source: bittenandbound.com

The Oxford English Dictionary indicates sport is an activity “in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment”.

See, it’s all about the entertainment.

Without an element of enjoyment, sport quickly becomes nothing more than a quest for victory and supremacy.

Don’t we have enough competition and seriousness in our lives without exacerbating the situation by pretending our lives depend on each shot at goal?

Just because you miss that three-point throw doesn’t mean you will lose your job.

Your family won’t desert you because you hooked that eight iron shot on the fifth hole.

Stepped over the sideline as you sprinted towards the try line? It’s okay, it’s not the end of the world; the zombies aren’t going to suddenly attack because you missed an opportunity to score four points.

As a collective sporting community, we need to step back and take a look at what small percentage of our lives centre around the games we love.

While this may pain some to read, sport isn’t the be all and end all, irrespective of what you believe or are told.

When we finally accept this statement to be true, everyone is suddenly going to find sport – whether as a player or fan – a lot more fun and interesting.

It’s simple: the more you enjoy your sport, the better you will be at it and the more pleasure you will derive from it.

It’s not rocket science, but it seems to be a lesson that’s easily forgotten.

So, when you run onto the sporting field to play or sit on the sideline to barrack for your favourite team this weekend, remember there are benefits to sport that transcend trophies and silverware.

Winning is wonderful but don’t let be the only reason you participate in sport, either as a player, club official or diehard fan. Source: triplem.com.au

When will prize money be on par?

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Here’s a piece I wrote for my sports column in today’s The North West Star about the vast gap between prize purses in men’s and women’s sport.

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Why is there such disparity between the prize money offered to male and female athletes?

Last year’s Australian PGA Championship offered $1,500,000 in prize money to the men who donned their funky golf outfits and battled the Hyatt Regency Coolum Course.

The winner, Greg Chalmers, pocketed $270,000 for his 12 under par victory.

In February, only $500,000 was offered in total for the Gold Coast RACV Australian Ladies Masters.
Holland’s Christel Boeljon scored a one-stroke victory at the event but only received $75,000 as recompense for doing so.

Both the Hyatt Regency Coolum and Royal Pines courses are par 72.

Chalmers completed his four rounds in 276 strokes, while Boeljon went around the Gold Coast course four times in 267 strokes.

The Australian PGA Championship and Gold Coast RACV Australian Ladies Masters are this country’s ultimate golfing events for men and women respectively, yet the boys get to play for about three times the prize money.

By offering so much more for competing, are event organisers suggesting Chalmers, Robert Allenby and Adam Scott are three times better than Boeljon and other female players like Nikki Campbell and Sarah Kemp?

Of course not.

But if that’s the case, why is there such a ridiculous difference in prize money being offered for exactly the same amount of golf, based purely on whether the player sits down to pee?

The answer is advertising.

Professional sportswomen don’t get the media coverage that male athletes do. As such, they don’t have the public profile advertising executives look for when throwing money around.

Money that ends up in prize pools.

Essentially, less public recognition undoubtedly means a smaller prize purse.

Advertisers want a brand, and without increased media exposure, female athletes will never be able to become a brand.

Unless they are, to put it boorishly, hot.

Everyone knows who Tiger Woods is.

Can you name the world’s current top female golfer?

No, me either.

We have been conditioned by advertising and the media to recognise male athletes by their strength and ability with a club, a bat or a ball.

With male sporting stars, it’s all about the actual sport.

As far as our best sportswomen go, society as a whole only recognises them as exceptional athletes if they have great legs or look sensational in a beach volleyball outfit.

In a nutshell, we are told men are apparently tough and should receive maximum reward for their athletic performance, while women should, it seems, get paid peanuts for their sporting skill and rely on sex appeal to supplement their income via endorsements.

Am I the only one who finds this very 19th century?

If you are in the upper echelon of players in the country in your chosen sport, why should your ability to earn money by competing in said sport be influenced by whether you are male or female?

Tennis is beginning to come around as officials start to offer equal prize money for the guys and girls, but a lot of sports have a long way to go.

Without getting into the economics of male versus female sport and advertising, there’s an incredibly simple answer to the prize money gap: pay the girls more to play.

If they are playing the same sport as their male counterparts, why shouldn’t they be getting paid equally?

Shouldn’t it be about skill and not gender?

When did ludicrous sporting attire become socially acceptable?

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When did looking like Reebok marketing team’s wet dream become the status quo for recreational sport? At what point was simply throwing on a pair of sneakers and heading out for a run no longer deemed exercise? While I’m not sure that there is any discernible physiological advantage to having an iPod or GPS navigation on your run, it seems that unless you’ve left the house adorned in Adidas or looking like you have signed a lucrative endorsement deal with Nike, you just aren’t serious about your sport. 

Let’s have a look at four recreational sports where the outfits are now officially out there:

 1. Golf

 Go to any golf club and observe the attire of the serious members, and you’ll be forgiven for thinking that you’ve landed on Mars during Faux Pas Fashion Week.  You’ll be surrounded by loud shirts, paisley pants and striped vests, none of which will make guy chastising you for playing too slowly seem more cheerful. 

 I’m sorry, but does the knitted hat with the pompom really help your tee shot? 

Does that guy have a golfing manbag? Source: sodahead.com

2. Cycling

I wish I was blind. Source: worldofcrussle.com

I’ll never understand those cyclists who ride once or twice a week, yet seem compelled to own more equipment than most Tour de France competitors.  Sure, your bike is a carbon fibre masterpiece and looks like it was designed by NASA, but what the hell is up with your outfit?  How can someone who is happy to outlay hundreds of dollars for matching riding shoes and gloves not have a mirror with which to appraise themselves before leaving the house?  Nothing puts you off a latte quite like having to observe a pale, hairy stomach escaping the confines of a skin-tight jersey while its pudgy owner attacks a caramel macchiato and a muffin the size of grapefruit.

Even he wouldn’t wear some of the shit that recreational cyclists go out in. Source: businessreviewaustralia.com

 3. Running 

Whoever designed running accessories to accommodate iPods, mobile phones and portable navigation units has a lot to answer for.  If you don’t take your iPhone, Nano and six different types of monitoring equipment with you on your morning run, you aren’t a serious jogger.  Are your shoes worth less than $300 and not monogrammed with your initials?  Don’t bother turning up: you’ll just be ostracised by the other members of your running group.

If only this was the worst running ensemble I’d ever seen... Source: weddingbycolor.com

4. Tennis 

Source: losing-pounds.net

There’s a woman in the adjacent building who takes her tennis very, very seriously.  When she’s on the court, she could pass for the love child of Björn Borg and Maria Sharapova.  Everything in her playing ensemble – including the sweatbands that grace her head and wrists – is white, and she emits a grunt while serving that would terrify rutting stags.

My question to her is this: when you have only travelled thirty metres from your apartment for the match, is there really any need for a full bag of equipment that includes several racquets?

To my tennis-loving neighbour: when you’ve won Wimbledon, you can have the headband back. Source: au.sports.yahoo.com

When it comes to sporting outfits, the do’s and don’ts are unquestionably clear cut.  If you are an Olympian or on any sort of professional tour, do wear whatever you want.  If you’re 52, overweight and have spent $10,000 on a bike to try and recapture your youth, don’t subject the unsuspecting public to your sweaty, lycra-clad crisis.

Written by disseminatedthought

December 13, 2011 at 15:57