I even found myself watching ‘Thinking Tackle’ on Sky Sports 4 the other day, partly due to World Cup withdrawal symptoms. That's how much I love sport. When there are no A-list events knocking about, I'll get my kicks watching the z-list stuff, even if only in a sub-ironic way. You really missed out if you didn't catch last year's table football and arm wrestling coverage on Eurosport.
The staples of the English sporting summer are like mild narcotics in helping me escape the drudgery of day-to-day existence, but your Royal Ascots and Wimbledons can only take you so far, especially if you're like me and detest those inane middle Englanders in Union Jack hats who treat their annual trip to SW19 like Last Night Of The Proms, and roundly applaud the ump after he tells them all to switch their mobile phones off.
2005 was a great year because of that amazing Ashes series. A summer without a major football tournament or a home Ashes series are the worst summers of all. I've already blanked 2007 from my mind for this very reason. It's like it never happened.
When a World Cup or an Ashes series finishes I go into deep mourning. Those first few days, post-World Cup, felt like a wake. Life lost all colour and purpose. The comedown was so intense I had to go in search of other highs. My recovery has been aided enormously by the Tour De France.
I am already pining for the next big sporting event, as long as it's not Formula One. Now I love sport but what I don't love is Formula One. Back in the day it used to be more of a test of genuine motoring skill. There was glamour, and over-taking, and Ayrton Senna. There was also a degree of danger and, like downhill skiing, the voyeur in us tuned in for the chance of seeing cars cart-wheeling through the air, and Niki Lauda being put out. But so many deaths in the sport were never a good thing. Some say sport is not a matter of life and death. Well, Formula One did become a matter of death, on a disturbingly regular basis. Things got out of hand in my view when the pace car was a Hearse.
"The staples of the English sporting summer are like mild narcotics in helping me escape the drudgery of day-to-day existence."
Golf is another one that doesn't quite do it for me. It is a sport enjoyed by dreary, middle-aged men with terrible taste in sweaters and a penchant for staycrease action slacks. It only passes as vaguely interesting during the British Open and even then you have to withstand those dreadful bores in the commentary box, not to mention some South African unknown running away with it on the final day. 'Well then young Ken.' 'Would you believe it.' 'And the old man of Hoye will sleep well tonight.' 'And they say when the wind blows from the west…' And shut the f*ck up you bunch of crusty old clubhouse farts.
On the radio these golf anoraks whisper their words as a putt is about to be made. You can almost audibly pick up how aroused they are as they will the ball in. The fans on the course are equally culpable with their shouts of 'get in the hole', inspecting Tiger Woods' divots and assessing his yardage, eager to find out whether he hit a four or five-iron.
For others, Lions tours are a sporting highlight. Not for me. I'm interested. I want the Lions to win but it doesn't inspire. Rugby union is far too beloved by rugger buggers to encourage a strong emotional attachment.
There was a bloke who played in the Berkshire minor leagues a few years back who got banned for continually sticking his finger up opposing players arseholes in scrums. Seriously. I'm not making that up. That says it all for me. Rugby is always loved by your aristo uncle type. The one who has a touch of the Monty from 'Withnail And I' about him, and who, you sense, might one day show you his true colours and will have you "even if it must be burglary".
My love of sport still ensures I'll watch the British Grand Prix or the British Open, or a Lions test before I'll ever again be subjected to an episode of the dismal 'Miranda'.
I bet people who like 'Miranda' are non-sports lovers and besides, I've got far more interesting things to do with my time. McGuigan vs Pedroza is about to be shown on ESPN Classic. And later on, it's the Hip Hop Dance World Championship on Eurosport 2. That’s going to be epic…
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