Author Topic: I no longer watch live sport  (Read 1654 times)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
I no longer watch live sport
« on: February 23, 2019, 09:10:58 pm »
If I care about the result I find it too stressful.

I first noticed this phenomenon in my dad. It was the final match of the Welsh grand slam of 2005 (v Ireland) and I think it was the last rugby match he watched. It was certainly the last I watched with him, and we had supported Wales together for something like 40 years. Despite the fact that Wales were out of sight at half time, the further into the second half we went, the more distressed he became. He was 90 at the time, but completely compos mentis, but I really could not understand why he found it such an excruciating experience.

During the past couple of weeks I have discussed this phenomenon with two pals. Mel, a former teaching colleague and Tottenham supporter, and My Mate Terry Who Art In Sibton, lifelong Sunderland supporter and a veteran of the 1973 Cup Final (as a supporter). Neither enjoys watching sport any more, if they are supporting one of the teams. Both are in their 70s.

I had a long natter with Terry about this yesterday evening. He said he prefers watching club rugby to football these days, and likes to watch Newcastle Falcons, but I think that it's not just the stress that Terry, Mel and I dislike. It's also the nonsense (in rugby matches) of flame throwers and gratuitous noise, the tedious cult of celebrity, the massive amounts of money, the "mind games" between the teams in the run up to the matches, and lots of other stuff, but when it came down to it was are all prepared to watch the recordings when we know the result, and of course they still involve the other stuff we find distasteful. Terry is a self-professed couch potato and often has sport on the television even when he's doing something else so that he can look up when the commentator starts to get a bit excited. But mostly he is a neutral so the stress is absent.

Terry and I quite often follow the minute-by-minute text descriptions. That was how I followed the Wales - England match this afternoon. Somehow being told about it by a third party takes the edge off it. It's still pretty stressful though.

I have a theory that the older you are, the less fun an adrenaline rush is. It's a pretty basic function, and in a young caveman it is very likely to lead to a reward of some kind, whether a meal, if your are hunting, or an act of procreation if you are not, so it's quite exciting. But as an older caveman, I reckon that the adrenaline rush is more likely to be a precursor to becoming a meal or the victim of some conflict or other, so the only reward you have to look forward to is a bit more life until the sabre-toothed tiger finally catches up with you.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: I no longer watch sport
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2019, 09:28:40 pm »
Well, you only need to look at the age profile of audaxers vs sportivers vs racers.

I long ago stopped playing rugby, switched to refereeing, started TT-ing, stopped again, started Ultras, stopped again, started Audax, not stopped yet.  Adrenaline squirts diminishing each time

I still enjoy watching rugby though.
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Re: I no longer watch sport
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2019, 10:07:10 pm »
It is difficult for me to care as much about sport on TV as I used too. Professional cycling has become unattractive to watch, ever since radio communication was introduced, and team tactics, and defensive riding became the norm, not the exception.

Football has all become about not wanting to lose first.

So, it is the other way around for me; it has become almost impossible for me to get involved anymore.

Re: I no longer watch sport
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2019, 10:18:06 pm »
Try watching Sky Sport on Saturday or BBC's final Score. The commentators get all shouty with some faux excitement as if they are out on the terraces.
The rugby has become equally blokey.
How I miss Bill McLaren's dulcet tones and well researched commentaries.
Wow, have you tried listening to sport on the radio?

Re: I no longer watch sport
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2019, 11:23:11 pm »
I like watching the sports that I play but only for the technical aspect, I couldn't give a toss about the score usually. I usually know who wins before hand because there's the video of them in the next round also available.

I think I care less about my own score in the games I actually play than some people seem to care about "their" football team.


I have a theory that the older you are, the less fun an adrenaline rush is. It's a pretty basic function, and in a young caveman it is very likely to lead to a reward of some kind, whether a meal, if your are hunting, or an act of procreation if you are not, so it's quite exciting. But as an older caveman, I reckon that the adrenaline rush is more likely to be a precursor to becoming a meal or the victim of some conflict or other, so the only reward you have to look forward to is a bit more life until the sabre-toothed tiger finally catches up with you.

I think this is because you only get a certain amount of serotonin for your life, and once you've used it up, that's it.

It might not be quite as simple as that, so in reality it's more like the earth's oil, there's some there but it's increasingly harder to "mine", but that's the basic premise.

It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
    • Two beers or not two beers...
Re: I no longer watch sport
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2019, 06:21:47 am »
Interesting phenomenon. My parents (both in their 80s) love watching rugby and 6 nations games are pretty much the highlight of the weekend. They get excited but not in a stressful way, even though my dad will "moan" occasionally about the players all being very big now. Maybe it's because he played to a reasonably high level as a youth (schoolboy international for England) but although my mum has watched rugby from when she was a girl she has never played competitive sport at all. Tennis (particularly Wimbledon) is also another big draw, they love the close games when the result could go either way but definitely have a favourite they want to win.

Personally I'm not too fussed who wins but enjoy watching a close game.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: I no longer watch sport
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2019, 07:02:33 am »
I think that's the key point - not really caring who wins. Despite the fact that I deplore the increasing influence of money, the ridiculous size of the players to the extent that young men's bodies are seriously damaged as a routine now in a way that they probably weren't 40 years ago (I'm thinking about Sam Warburton particularly, and I wonder if Leigh Halfpenny - an automatic choice at full back until his concussion against Australia in November - will ever pull on another Wales jersey), the devaluing of supporters and the ludicrous predictions of the pundits, I still have a tribal desire for Wales to win.

Curiously, that desire for Essex to win at cricket has completely disappeared, and I have been to a lot more cricket matches than rugby. Perhaps it is because the game has changed, but so too has the organisation in that you never see cricket on mainstream television now, the county championship is in two divisions and the counties' best players are contracted to play test cricket so they hardly ever turn out.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: I no longer watch sport
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2019, 08:10:41 am »
Since my mid-50s the only sport I've watched has been the TdF, and since the mid-naughties drugging scandals I've hardly been bothered about that. Of other "sports" I might watch the odd game of snooker on YouTube, but only for the skill involved since I don't know any of the players.

The decline of adrenaline with age is probably the cause; and there's a tie-in with Christmas parcels, in that the anticipation of loot is no longer as compelling.  I was given a bunch of Amazon tokens for my birthday mid-January and I've only just spent them, to pay part of the Miele vacuum-cleaner MrsT insists is the only one that'll fetch the dog-hair.  There's adrenaline for you.

WRT rugby I always have mixed feelings. Being from Norn Iron I support Ireland (i.e. would be mildly pleased if Ireland won the slam or just the tournament), being French by adoption I support France (i.e. would be mildly, etc.) and having a fond spot for Scotland blah blah blah. (While we're at it, viva Italia and thanks very much for the points.)

But really, none of it bothers me much any more.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: I no longer watch sport
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2019, 01:27:58 pm »
The decline of adrenaline with age is probably the cause; and there's a tie-in with Christmas parcels, in that the anticipation of loot is no longer as compelling.

The latter's not so much about age as about agency:  When you're a child, Christmas parcels are one of the few ways you can acquire items of any substantial value.  Most well-off adults can just buy things.  When you have a sufficiency of things, the anticipation of more things is no longer interesting, especially as Christmas happens more frequently as you age.

No idea about the sport thing.  Maybe I'll develop an interest when I'm older?
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: I no longer watch live sport
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2019, 02:04:06 pm »
I think it depends on your involvement. I enjoy watching kayak racing, but for most people it is probably as interesting as watching paint dry. Marathon races can be a couple of hours long.

No interest in soccer, rugby, motor sports.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: I no longer watch sport
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2019, 02:16:18 pm »
The decline of adrenaline with age is probably the cause; and there's a tie-in with Christmas parcels, in that the anticipation of loot is no longer as compelling.

The latter's not so much about age as about agency:  When you're a child, Christmas parcels are one of the few ways you can acquire items of any substantial value.  Most well-off adults can just buy things.  When you have a sufficiency of things, the anticipation of more things is no longer interesting, especially as Christmas happens more frequently as you age.

Yes, could be. Most of the Christmas adrenaline these days comes from hoping they haven't bought me an utterly crap version of something I need.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: I no longer watch live sport
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2019, 05:01:19 pm »
I think it's all about how much it matters, and how much influence you have. As a fan, for whom it matters a great deal, watching Wales rugbi on TV is torture - you have no influence whatsoever, but the emotional pull is huge. It's especially painful in a tight game where there are a lot of rucks - there's almost always the possibility of an infringement from either side, so you spend half the time praying he doesn't ping your players, and half the time praying he pings theirs. The six nations is tougher than the RWC - I don't think we can win the RWC.
In a similar vein, for me, it was easier to watch Newport County in their FA Cup run than it is to watch Liverpool on their attempt on the league. Ultimately, one knows that County are going to get beat, and that it's been great while it lasted. Supporting LFC in a title bid on the other hand is months of torture until someone else comes along and wins the title. In many ways, it's the hope that gets you.

Re: I no longer watch live sport
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2019, 07:07:10 pm »
I think it's all about how much it matters, and how much influence you have. As a fan, for whom it matters a great deal, watching Wales rugbi on TV is torture - you have no influence whatsoever, but the emotional pull is huge.

I don't get this at all. I know it matters. I know it's important. But I'm able to detach myself in that nothing I do sitting there watching a TV at home is going to influence the game, so I may as well sit back and enjoy it.

Being at the venue is slightly different as there's a very slim chance that the extra noise I generate in singing/clapping/etc could help spur the players on that little bit more, but even then I know it's nigh-on insignificant.

(Supporting a team that's currently in League Two and never made it to the dizzying heights of the top division [close once] may have an effect on this. Expectations of mediocrity. But in Rugby I'll be supporting England as my Welsh connection isn't solid enough in my opinion.)
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: I no longer watch live sport
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2019, 09:40:16 pm »
The occasional highs make it worth struggling through the tension.

I made my 11 year son watch the 1999 Champions League final right to the end, even though he was really upset that Manchester United were 1-0 behind, and 90 minutes were up.  He owes me for that.

If I watch track cycling then my legs start pedalling involuntarily over the final 200 metres, helping the GB cyclist over the line.

If there were no lows, or tension, there would be no highs.  For every Cavendish crash there was the sight of him turning on the afterburners with 50 metres to go.

I can't help myself.
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: I no longer watch live sport
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2019, 10:04:07 pm »
I quite like watching the Tour de France. First, the scenery is very good and you don’t have to put up with Judith Chalmers (ok she is probable about 110 but she was current last time I watched a holiday programme) and I have never really thought about cycling as a competitive sport. I never identify with or support the riders, and supporting one of these ridiculous “teams” is utterly fatuous.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Re: I no longer watch live sport
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2019, 01:27:01 pm »
I think it's all about how much it matters, and how much influence you have. As a fan, for whom it matters a great deal, watching Wales rugbi on TV is torture - you have no influence whatsoever, but the emotional pull is huge.

I don't get this at all. I know it matters. I know it's important. But I'm able to detach myself in that nothing I do sitting there watching a TV at home is going to influence the game, so I may as well sit back and enjoy it.

When I say how much it matters, I mean to the individual watching it. I can't sit back and watch "my team". I may try, but I am simply unable to detach myself in such a manner. It's absurd, but it's how I work, and at least it means that a good result can have me (metaphorically) singing all week. :)

Re: I no longer watch live sport
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2019, 11:27:25 am »
I quite like watching the Tour de France. First, the scenery is very good and you don’t have to put up with Judith Chalmers (ok she is probable about 110 but she was current last time I watched a holiday programme) and I have never really thought about cycling as a competitive sport. I never identify with or support the riders, and supporting one of these ridiculous “teams” is utterly fatuous.

My Dad only watches the Tour for the scenery these days.   The racing is secondary.

Re: I no longer watch live sport
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2019, 01:46:53 pm »
My Dad only watches the Tour for the scenery these days.   The racing is secondary.

Chateau!
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: I no longer watch live sport
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2019, 02:36:35 pm »
 ;D