Wednesday 13 November 2019

Letter of the day: 'Sport once had the element of surprise. Now it has become as dry as banking'

Derry play Dublin in March
Derry play Dublin in March

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.

Joseph Kiely

Donegal Town

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