For something that has always been an integral part of cultures around the world and throughout history, sport has more recently garnered a somewhat negative reputation. Whether this is due to the exorbitant amounts of money that today’s sports stars earn, the merging of enterprising and sporting interests, the increasing emphasis on image or more generally the over-subscribing of importance to what many see as something fairly trivial; there is no doubt sport has the capacity to be inclusive and divisive in equal measure. This is no less true in our personal relationships, as the stereotypical image of the husband spending hours whacking balls around a golf course or watching two dozen men chase one round a football pitch will testify.
Does sport really deserve to be perceived so unfavourably? As a fundamental aspect of culture, it has always reflected the outlook of the society it embodies, defining roles and establishing status. Furthermore, the origins of the word ‘sport’ go back to Old French ‘disport’ with the sense ‘to carry away’. Sport then, has always been a necessary counterpoint from the world of work and something in which people have immersed themselves, also allowing a sense of identity and social interaction. Those who practise sport are also, to a large extent fit and healthy, take care of themselves and pride themselves on their appearance and performance, all attributes which bode well in the field of life, love and relationships.
Peoples’ approach to recreation and physical activity can be highly indicative of their underlying attitudes and values. Those who play team sports may well foster close working relationships and offer support and encouragement. Those who enjoy head-to-head endeavours like martial arts, tennis or golf are likely to have a competitive edge and a high sense of respect for the other person. Many almost undoubtedly place a great deal of emphasis on developing, growing and striving to be the best they possibly can. Participation in a sport also requires dedication and commitment and the persistence to accomplish goals, reach milestones and achieve. These attributes inevitably extend into our personal relationships and are essential in making them successful and long-lasting.
Men and women’s choice of, and attitude to sport needn’t be mutually exclusive. On the contrary, they can reflect points of interest in common and lead to shared experiences. Where two people have a love of the sea, while one may be an accomplished sailor the other might love to dive yet they are united nonetheless and could visit the same locations and each allow the other to discover something new from their common passion. A taste for adventure might find two people at home in the mountains respectively sharing their love of skiing and paragliding. Our choice of sport is an extension of who we are and as a result, reflects essential elements of our character which provide the basis of our potential compatibility with others in a variety of other respects,
A lot can be ascertained about someone’s attitude and approach to life by their relationship with sport. It is important then to look beyond the surface and appreciate peoples’ motives for participating in their chosen practice. Sport defies broad stereotypes of gender and status - women are now well established in various fields of competitive sport and long-held perceptions of who should play what sport or which ones are socially respectable have withered in recent decades. So far from restrictive and exclusive opinions there is now an open playing field, a ticket for you to participate in the most exciting game on earth. What you play and with whom and to what rules is down to you. All you need is an open mind and the willingness to participate and give your all.