Crio’s Question: New sporting interests

Our sporting passions are often determined before birth. Geography, sociology, genealogy…

I grew up from Irish Catholic stock in middle class Adelaide = footy, cricket, tennis, races.

Like many Almanackers, Steve Fahey loves sport – footy especially but not exclusively. His March 13 piece on this site, , was more than just a call for rowing authorities to fix their scheduling.

What attracted me was how we can break out of our sports orbit and come to understand and enjoy a new sport, often thanks to involvement of a child or partner. Steve acknowledged this;

“One sport that I had never had much interest in was rowing.   That was until three years ago, when my daughter announced she’d like to give it a crack at school.”

A fella in my suburb is working class BHP Newcastle (NSW) = Rugby League and schooners.

Thanks to three active daughters, he is now also evangelical about netball.

Who else has taken the Road to Damascus thanks to outside intervention and now has a new sporting interest?


  1. Dips O'Donnell says

    Crio – I’m enjoying watching my young bloke’s hockey games. Pretty tough sport.

  2. Lord Bogan says

    Definitely Softball Crio. Anastasia plays in the Northern District Softball Association and in the space of a few months I’ve learned to appreciate a wonderful game and community around it.

    The ball is certainly not soft and neither are the players. A vast array of skills , nuances of concentration and the amount of tactical nous at the higher levels have won me over. Very underrated sport that is loved equally by boys and girls.

  3. I use to agree with Patrick Smith about basketball – set scores level with 2 minutes to play and don’t bother playing the rest of the game. Having seen dozens of under age games I have completely changed my view, I have seen some wonderfully talented young people with excellent skills.

  4. Dave Nadel says

    My daughter did elite gymnastics for a few years early last decade. To my surprise I found myself developing an interest in the sport and not just as a proud father. I must admit my interest waned after my daughter gave up gymnastics in 2005 but not completely. I watched a fair bit of the women’s gymnastics at the last two Olympics and Commonwealth Games and I had never done that before Catherine took up the sport.

    The interesting thing about Women’s’ Gymnastics is that it uses a different skill set to men’s sport. Men’s sport is based on speed and strength which is why it is hard to imagine women’s football (all codes) or cricket ever reaching the standard of the men’s game. On the other hand gymnastics is based on flexibility and grace (although considerable strength is required) I can’t imagine any male gymnast matching the best female performances on beam and bars.

  5. I spent a year in Los Angeles in 1988 – the year the Dodgers won the World Series. I would take a World Series game ticket over a Boxing Day Ashes Test ticket. Baseball is a great game with a great history and culture. Much more reliable tension and entertainment than cricket.
    Cricket has a past but no future outside the sub-continent, where there are no alternatives.

  6. Now that I’ve lost weight I’ve suddenly become impartial to long distance running, the aim is to do City2Surf this year, then a half marathon in 2014 and a full marathon in 2015. Plus it’s a sport where going fast doesn’t matter, being old or young doesn’t matter. All that matters is completing the distance and enjoying the outdoors.

  7. I’m with Peter B, baseball has a very rich history and the World Series, although inappropriately named, delivers some of the bset sporting contests I have seen.

    There is a documentary by Ken Burns on the hsitory of baseball which is certainly worth viewing. It’s simply called “Baseball – A Film by ken Burns”.

    It includes 11 discs so it’s not a show that you would watch in one sitting but is very enjoyable. Highly recommended.

  8. As an aside – but on Baseball – have you seen the ESPN Clemente doco which was on last night? Fantastic, tragic tale.

  9. I knew nothing of lacrosse until freshman year at university. I wrote sports for the school paper and they needed someone to cover the team. That first game, the coach said they needed a manager (I already was JV basketball manager) and would I consider it? I took it on, became skilled enough to warm up our goalie and other players — and play on an intramural team — and have attended games at every opportunity ever since. Still friends with about a half-dozen players from the uni days and the current coach (who started the next year, 1975, when I was a sophomore).

    And then there’s cricket, which I took on cold during the last Ashes, when a co-worker from London started trash talking and said that if I followed all that is Aussie, I’d better learn about the Ashes and cricket. Lucky it was just before a World Cup, an easy way to become familiar with the top teams and players. Now it’s a way to pass long winter nights, though I have a lot to learn.

  10. Crio,

    I have not seen the Clemente film but will keep an eye out for it on ESPN. I’m vaguely familiar with the story. Thanks for the tip.

    There are some excellent ESPN films. The 30 for 30 series of films were very good.

    An obscure show to watch out for is “Summit Series” (or Summit on Ice), a documentary on the Canada – Russia ice hockey series from 1972. A great story and sporting event. The cold war was still in full swing and the hockey series took place in that context.

  11. Since we are on Sports docos, next Tuesday the Football Rebels series concludes with a focus on the Corinthians in Brazil and their talisman Socrates.

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