Participating in sports was never quite my thing. Oh I did ok in a couple of events. Long distance running was a sport I quite enjoyed. I was never that concerned about winning, but always tried to better my previous results. And as I raced, I did get better and better times. There would always be those who were faster than I was, but that was fine. I was competing against myself. I also enjoyed swimming. The water was able to make non graceful me look lithe as a glided over and under the water.
I do occasionally enjoy watching sports. No I am not a rabid fan, but if a game was close and good it was exciting to be part of the fans who were cheering. Some sports I do not find enjoyable to watch. Golf for instance is boring to watch. Cricket moves too slowly. Boxing and wrestling are too violent. Finally auto racing is too noisy and seems to be such a waste of precious fuel. But other games, I will watch. I don't need to watch all of the games, but if it is a championship or something, I might tune in. I sometimes find the games a pleasant distraction in my day.
In some ways, sports brings us together as a community. Being part of the fans who are cheering for a team, you become linked together. Diverse people from many different walks of life are suddenly joined together in cheering for the team. For a couple of hours at least we become united.
However, sports also distracts us from other issues going on. Important news in this country is not reported because sports needs its fifteen minutes of each newscast. Tonight, much of the tv news in Sydney will be talking about the State of Origin Rugby match. We will hear about the injuries, the predictions, those players with long history in the State of Origin series and the debutants (rookies for North Americans). The normal 15 minutes of sports news that we get on an average broadcast here will most likely stretch to 30 minutes tonight. Meanwhile tonight there will be thousands of children who will have to sleep outside on a rainy night as the problem of homelessness is ignored. There will be thousands of farmers in our state who are wondering how they are ever going to make ends meet as the drought becomes more severe. There will be many young people here in our big cities who will never be able to own their own homes because our house prices, while falling, are still out of reach for too many. There will be many people in our country who will be judged on the basis of their skin colour or their religion. These issues will be ignored on our news tonight as we talk about the rugby game.
We need distractions in life. Life can be overwhelming with its problems. Whether your distraction is sports, or music, or theatre, or books, or movies, all of us need to escape into another reality for at least a short time. So I am not condemning the millions who will watch the rugby game tonight. But all I am saying is that we should not forget those who are suffering, those who are homeless, those who are refugees, and those who are forgotten by society. They too need their time on our newscasts. Blessings.