| 13.4°C Dublin

Sport is not just about entertainment - it offers us greater joys

Close

Entertainment is guaranteed whenever Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi come face-to-face, as they did last night at Old Trafford. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Entertainment is guaranteed whenever Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi come face-to-face, as they did last night at Old Trafford. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

PA

Entertainment is guaranteed whenever Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi come face-to-face, as they did last night at Old Trafford. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

No, it's not another Roy Keane article, but it starts with a reference. That's it. I swear. Whether or not he's answering questions about his personal life, about his book or, God forbid, actual Irish footballing matters, it seems like a no-win situation for Keano.

His most recent non-controversy brought me back to a conversation I had with OTB's resident Yank. "Sport is entertainment," Donny argued, though on a different topic.

To me, sport isn't entertainment. It may be consumed as entertainment. The controlling forces of sport, be they people, organisations or the invisible hand of the market, push it as entertainment. It's necessary. Necessary for their vested interest. An interest that shapes the way in which sport is viewed, followed and played, which we have a lot to be thankful for. The sheer joy, the total immersion of the masses in the trials and spoils of modern-day sport and its characters is no mean feat. That we can empathise to a small degree, to see a fraction of our own journey in these acts of aesthetic proficiency is the essence of following sport. The reason we're besotted with a small ball in what seems like a vacuum at times to the greater story of life in the village.

It's never going to run on strict definitions. It's not a case of one or the other. It's nuanced, barely discernible, so much so that the vast majority don't care where the line exists on the difference between sport as entertainment and sport as that spark of play within all of us. The one that seems like a bottomless pit as a child. The one that evaporates somewhere around our teens, where we forget the ability to play for play's sake, and nothing else.

There's nothing more perfect, nothing more attractive than watching someone immersed in their craft simply for the sake of that moment of just doing. Of just being in that zone. It seems to be disappearing from our screens. People who play to play. Of which playing to win is a natural part.

It becomes harder and harder to connect. Harder to identify with.

Keane's frustration is a symptom of a greater malaise. Not to worry, the entertainment will carry on.

Irish Independent