It’s a funny thing that we human beings need to have sporting pastimes to both keep fit and to release our stress from everyday life. We were originally designed as “hunter-gatherers”, and had to work very hard to survive chasing down wild animals in prehistoric times; then later in the middle ages, cultivating the soil. But as we advanced into the industrial era and now into the information age, our bodies mostly don’t work at maximum capacity to fulfil our work day and we have to turn to aerobics, surfing, football, gym workouts, and so on to keep in reasonable shape.
But as we look around us we see so many people that have the time and the money but don’t do any exercise and end up, well shall we say, not very fit. Then, we could see, if we looked harder, the many people who are still “hunter-gatherers” in this modern age: the farmers, the street sweepers, the cleaners, the fishermen whose lives haven’t progressed past the daily requirement of fighting the elements to stay alive. Those who have to still convert muscle power into money, and who depend on their strength – and health – to work every day to keep their family fed are there; do look a little more carefully.
So, sport is a very strange pastime: playtime for the well off, a distraction for the rich, a necessity for the deskbound, an obsession for the body worshippers, and an absolutely unnecessary luxury for the labourer. No-one cleans the streets by day and goes for a beach run in the evening.
So for those of you who can indulge and don’t, get out there and do it, or join the farmer who feeds you, in his fields and find out how hard it is to have to work all day. It may be a great revelation.
Have a great sporting holiday.
Alistair G. Speirs, OBE
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Life on the Island
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