Let’s Ban Sport!

An Andrew Motion poem: Sheffield, S Yorks

An Andrew Motion poem: Sheffield

I think I attended one football game, back in high school. Who knows why.

Perhaps I’d run out of library books.

I was in Sheffield the other day. At the bottom of the hill overlooked by a wonderful poem by Andrew Motion (above), I saw a load of police. Being a nosy soul, I asked what was happening.

A local derby between Sheffield United, and Donny Rovers, the wpc said.

Meanwhile, in my original home town of Detroit, it was opening day.

You expected what, a catcher's mitt?

You expected what, a catcher’s mitt?

A Michigan friend predicted what the British – when their traditional stiff upper lip is installed – call “unpleasantness”.

Sadly, my friend was right. The debris included litter, and what I – having installed my lip stiffener – will describe as bodily fluids, and related items.

Tour de Yorkshire: Sheffield

Tour de Yorkshire: Sheffield

When an English friend was a lad, he read a comic titled, “Roy of the Rovers”. Roy’s fans didn’t fight, or pee in inappropriate places. If he missed a goal, they said: “Oh, bad shot, Roy!”

If only, eh?

I never attended a Red Wings’ game. Detroit legend claimed that the scenes on the ice were so violent that the closest the fans got to misbehaving was when a player scored a hat trick, and a fan would throw an octopus on the rink.

Not very nice for the octopus, of course. The chap with the Zamboni machine probably wasn’t keen, either.

As for the Pistons, meh. I cannot name a single player, past or present. Over 40 years later, I can still reel off names like Al Kaline, Mickey Lolich, Willy Horton, Denny McClain, and Bill Freehan.  The “old men” who won baseball’s World Series in 1968.

I remember, too, the way the fans trashed not just the interior of Tiger Stadium, but also several surrounding streets. It was after the pennant. And, the year after a race riot which tore our town apart.

But, opening day? That never used to involve anything more criminal than bunking off school, or work.

Enough’s enough. Let’s ban sport.

All of it.

Tiddleywinks? Dangerous. Miniature golf? A nightmare cloaked in tiny windmills, and cottages. The kids’ card game, “Go Fish”? Another “Doorway to Danger”.

Just think of all that free time, and money, for other things. Like re-opening libraries, or extending their opening hours.

So that bored teenagers need never again sit through a football game: here, or abroad.

Statue of monks carrying St Cuthbert's body, outside the library: Durham.

Statue of monks carrying St Cuthbert’s body, outside the library: Durham.

Comments are closed.