Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The big business of sports - Part 1


So, I'm still on this topic of 'classy' sportsmen, who speak multiple languages, dress and look like movie stars, mingle with dignitaries and spend like millionaires....here goes....

Growing up, I always thought that those who went into sports as a full-time career were those who had more brawns than brains. "They didn't have the brains to cut it in school and so they opted for the easy road - sports!" Boisterous children were encouraged to pick up a sport as a way of using up all that pent up energy. It wasn't so much about the technique of the game, but just the letting up of bottled in tension. 

I studiously kept at my books, shaking my head haughtily at those who preferred to involve themselves in sports. Granted not all of these sportsmen made it to the big league (and also not all bookworms are poor and destitute) but I do accept I am wrong - completely! 

The playing field, with respect to how sports is perceived, has definitely changed...

On an economic and professional note, the entire sports industry has definitely become a whole lot more sophisticated in recent years. 

When I say sports, I am talking about all forms of sports - basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer, football, swimming, golf, auto racing, polo - you name it. If you can break a sweat doing it (and in some cases, you might not visibly break a sweat, but we all know you are sweating somewhere(!) as you wait apprehensively to see if you won!), then it's a sport!  

When I say sophistication (for want of a better word), it could be the eloquence of the players (e.g. Mohammed Ali), the education (many of the NFL/NBA players have a college degree) or their fashion style (David Beckham is one of note who has transformed himself from soccer player to Hollywood icon). 

My post yesterday talked about the new influx of polyglot / bilingual sportsmen (and women). That's just another area where sports has been transformed. Being able to learn and speak another language, definitely uses a whole different set of brain cells, than those used for sports. And there is an increasing number of sportsmen who are able to speak, at least 2 languages - fluently. 

A few could probably have excelled at other activities, if sports had failed them. Many have branched out into other businesses (finance, real estate, manufacturing, acting, entertainment) since retirement from (or alongside) active sports. 

On a lighter, personal note, I guess I should have listened to the wise man who once said 'Sport is a preserver of health.  ~Hippocrates.'  and paid more attention to sport!  If not for anything else, the resultant health benefits of participating in sports are substantial. The healthy heart, the well-functioning organs, the flatter abs, the firmer butt, the well defined arms, the svelte body, the possibility of adding a few more years to your life - all these, just by keeping active! Yes, sports is good!

....to be continued

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