Sports, sports, sports…

The score stands at three all. It all comes down to penalties. While the Netherlands fail to score, Helen Richardson-Walsh gets the first one in for Team GB. It’s now all on Hollie Webb.

Sitting at home you can feel the tension. You can feel the eyes of the nation on their screens or in the stands. Webb scores, taking gold for Team GB.

This was by no means down to one player; this was a team effort and the jubilant scenes that follow show that just as much as the match itself. The celebrations of the entire nation include everyone, and that’s what is so great about sport. It brings people together.

The Olympics is particularly good at that. Every four years the world suddenly grows interested in sports that, let’s face it, are hardly paid attention to the rest of the time. But people come together to wish their nation’s teams on and that’s what makes it so special.

But aside from that sports can actually be rather exclusive. I know groups, where the only subject people can talk about, is sport. And if you’re not running, cycling, or anything at all I feel you’re left out. That’s certainly how I feel.

I go the gym, I work out, and I do the occasional bike ride. So I’m by no means unfit and not active. But because I haven’t specialised in a sport I’m made to feel like I don’t fit in. That doesn’t seem very nice.

I’ve had family and friends suggest many times I would be great at something like rowing or cycling (I’m 6ft 2” with long arms and legs if that helps) They always seem disappointed by my indifference to this. I know what kind of body I have and I know it would be useful in certain sports. But that doesn’t mean I have to use it so.

There’s an expectation that because I fulfill the criteria for something I must, therefore, do it and am odd if I choose not to. I shouldn’t be made to feel like I have to do something just to fit in, should I? Because I believe that’s called peer pressure; something I distinctly remember being taught not to be the subject of in school.

I’m glad that people are active in sport and passionate about it. There are huge problems with obesity in this country (pun not intended) and if those are being reduced then great! Hopefully, we can continue to make things better, and I really hope people get inspired by the Olympics and become more active.

But let’s not create an environment where if someone chooses not to get involved they’re made to feel excluded. There are lots of things people can contribute to discussion that doesn’t revolve around new personal bests. I just feel like sports can be very dominating, generally, and sometimes people seem rather absent in other matters. Just saying.

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