Raise your hand if you or someone you know watched some sort of sport during the weekend. Thank you. You can put your hands down now.
I watched the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix. Formula 1 is the only sport I watch. I started watching F1 in the early 1990s and since then, I have only missed watching less than 10 races.
So considering the vast amount of hours I have spent on watching F1 I think it’s safe to say that I have a pretty good understand of the sport. I know about some of the rules and regulations and strategies around testing, tires, overtaking, flags, safety car situations, pit stops, drivers championship points, constructor championship points, etc. I can even identify drivers as they zip past the camera by their helmet (even the one that changes his design every race).
But I don’t really understand the sport. In fact, I don’t really understand any pro-level sport (I am not talking about the weekend game between you and your brother). I don’t understand why anyone would spend every waking hour training to do one thing better than someone else especially something as unimportant as driving faster while avoiding accidents, mechanical problems or bad luck. Or being the fastest man to run 100 metres.
If you do succeed you might get a trophy or a medal and some money. And then maybe someone will start a Wikipedia page about you. And hopefully someone would spell your name correctly in some sports almanac and 10 years from now hopefully someone skimming through the list of names pauses next to your name and thinks “Yeah, I remember him/her. He/She was pretty good”.
But you were “pretty good” at a sport. At running fast. At driving fast. At hitting / kicking / running with a ball. At an unimportant activity! (I admit that if you were some sort of archery champion then it might be a useful skill when the zombies invade or aliens invade or when all of the power turns off a la The Walking Dead, Falling Skies and Revolution). Ignoring the bonus payout of a kazillions of euros, why do you want to be the best F1 driver? What does it say about you as a person? How have you made the world a better place? Is it really worth the years of sacrifice?
And what if you don’t succeed? You’ve spent hours in the gym. Hours running drills. Cut out on ice cream and deep-fried anything. You’ve just wasted your entire life on being a loser.
Now friendly sports I understand. I don’t mind the occasional friendly game with someone. It requires no training and no special diet. It’s just two people having fun and usually ends up in both people laughing at my uncoordinatedness (A couple of weeks ago I swung a bowling ball into my own knee). And I always lose. But it’s ok. Because I had fun.