I always enjoy this time of the year in Australia as I’m a huge tennis fan, some may even call me a tennis tragic. I used to play, but now I just sit in front of the TV with my food & drink in hand, watching others run crazily around the court hitting that little green ball. Sometimes I even manage to make it as far as a stadium to watch said player in person. Sadly, I am no longer able to serve above the net, let alone into the correct little box, and my cross-court forehand that used to be a force to be reckoned with, is no longer. I don’t even think I would be able to hold one of the modern rackets, let alone hit the ball with it.
Australians love sport! Have you ever noticed how many people at work, church or amongst a group of friends tell you how much they fit this stereotype? What I have found an interesting phenomenon is the response when the conversation goes a step further and the question is asked “what do you play?”. Said sport afficionados are usually astounded– “oh no, I used to play……I don’t have time now….I’m too unfit……I take my children…..I watch on TV……..it’s good to catch up with my mates over a beer. Just like my tennis, playing sport seems to have become a childhood activity. Adults take their children to the field / court / rink or sit in front of the telly, with the extent of the exercise being to run along the sideline yelling at the referee or getting up to collect another drink from the fridge.
Next time you’re at the footy, cricket or tennis, take a look at the physique of those on the sideline followed by a similar examination of those on the field / court. Observe what each camp is doing – one is likely sitting down whilst the other is sprinting around the field. As the former bites into a burger and sips on a beer or soft drink, the latter is replenishing their loss of liquid with a bottle of water and sucking on an orange or biting into a banana.
It’s easy for us to make excuses as to why we fit into the spectator camp rather than the group of participants. Sure, we all have times to enjoy relaxing and watching our chosen activity or passionately supporting our favourite team. But eventually, watching something from the stands reduces our role to either clapping or critiquing. Actually putting on the jersey or the running shoes and getting involved in the game or going for a run brings satisfaction in knowing we did something.
Participating makes us FIT, watching just makes us FAT!