Game over: why sport is being destroyed
Published 05/05/2015 | 02:30
Sport has been described as the opium of the masses. However, sport as we know it is being slowly destroyed.
Rugby Union has been reduced to a series of phases, destroyed by over-analysis and emphasis on brawn over brain. Soccer has become boring, destroyed by money. The game of soccer now is about keeping possession. The off-the-cuff moments of magic have been coached out of the game. Fear of failure has replaced imagination.
Golf has become so slow it's like watching paint dry. Cycling and athletics are clouded by the shadow of drugs and nobody believes the times achieved anymore. National Hunt and flat racing have been reduced to a small number of main players where money and the ability to buy the best have taken the small man out. Grade one races have become boring.
As for our own amateur sports... Gaelic football has so many hand passes that it's impossible to watch. Hurling is also being destroyed by tactics, leaving moments of genius few and far between.
Sport once had the element of surprise. Now it has become as dry as banking, with the bottom line the only ingredient. Professionalism in sport is an aberration. The origins of all sports had at its core a type of abandon, an uncertainty, and therefore a fascination. Alas, not anymore.
The arrival of money, big business, TV rights, over-coaching, over-analysis and the win-at-all-costs mentality has destroyed the innocence and left sport as dull as a quarterly economic forecast.
More of today's Letters:
A fight for the aged
Congratulations to Sky Box Office for selling a dud to the hundreds of millions around the world.
No, it was not entirely your fault - you probably believed it really was going to be a fight between two boxers. Instead, what we got was two has-beens living on reputations of five or six years ago.
To add insult to injury we endured a Laurel and Hardy undercard with mismatched opponents of a shocking degree. Add to that the four hours of continuous waffle by so-called boxing pundits, who went round and round the same track.
Then, for the real value for money, came the three anthems. The one for Mexico was bad enough, I thought it was never going to stop. But the most terrible of all was having to listen and look at Jamie Foxx while he screeched the American anthem - it was like listening to a train derailment going through a tunnel.
"Warriors," said the ads from Sky Box Office - try having a look at the end of the fight and show me a mark on either warrior.
Remember, most bookies refund bets when your horse does not run. If they don't, punters usually go elsewhere for value.
I await your decision.
Glenville, Dublin 15
Same-sex marriage referendum
There is a quiet, dignified marching revolution going on all over Ireland at the moment. It is brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, and gay and lesbian men and women canvassing in every village, town and county throughout Ireland.
It is like a wave of love emerging from every quarter of Ireland, to support their gay brothers and sisters. It is people standing up for equal rights under the Constitution for all people in Ireland.
I have a son who is gay. My daughter and myself are out canvassing for him because he is not in this country right now, but he is very active online and via Skype with his support.
In the course of my canvassing I have spoken to parents and have been told that their teenage sons and daughters are asking them how they are voting. If they say 'No', they are getting a right old lecture on why it's important to vote 'Yes'.
I was very heartened to hear of this support from teenagers who do not have a vote, but who are talking to their parents about how important it is to vote 'Yes' for equality for all.
This is a revolution of love - love and support and respect for the dignity of the lives of our gay sons and daughters and brothers and sisters. This wave of love emerging throughout Ireland will win over the darkness that has been pervading and damaging Irish society for far too long.
Knockcroghery, Co Roscommon
Some gardaí have been publicly endorsing a 'Yes' vote in the upcoming referendum.
Clearly, they are overstepping the mark in terms of maintaining political and social neutrality. I should be very concerning for all citizens when our police force strongly endorses a political opinion, because it won't be long before a strong endorsement becomes a strong enforcement.
Nuala O'Loan, a former Police Ombudsman for the North, rightly criticised the Garda Representative Association (GRA) for coming out in favour of a 'Yes' vote in the upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage recently.
Her view is that our Gardaí should faithfully discharge duties with fairness, integrity, regard for human rights, diligence and impartiality, upholding the Constitution and the laws. The Gardaí should not act to change the laws if they don't represent or comply with their views on the law.
GRA chief PJ Stone has used some strong language in describing dissenting citizens saying that some bigotry remains, "and has been fuelled with ammunition to fuel primal emotions rather than enlightened thinking".
So our Gardaí now have enlightened moral views which they endorse and hope to enforce and may have to deal with some unenlightened bigots armed with primal emotions who dare to disagree. Tough talk. Perilous times.
Dr Richard Gavin
Drogheda, Co Louth
Let's look closer to home
In her article of May 1, Lise Hand seems to blame Jean-Claude Trichet for "a land devastated by recession... departing jets which took our young and hopeless away... a skyline denuded of cranes... a country stripped of the dignity of sovereignty and of the comfort of knowing that powerful allies were looking out for the battered people".
That ignores the fact that our problems were caused by the decisions of the people in charge of our own most powerful institutions during the boom. It also ignores the fact that publicly-quoted figures stated that when Trichet headed the ECB Irish banks held a quarter of the ECB's total lending.
Lisa Hand also complains that the Great Hall in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham was the wrong venue for questions to Trichet.
That ignores the fact that questions were answered in a public forum, which was the object of the exercise.
Blaming foreigners for our problems, especially those who helped us out when we were in trouble, is hypocritical.
Sutton, Dublin 13