Sharing a love for sport and reading by Dom Bowers
We’re all sports fans, right? We support our sporting heroes, teams and country through batting collapses, triple bogeys at the 18th and penalty shoot-out exits. The feeling of hopelessness is inevitably followed by euphoric expectation, all in the knowledge abject failure is just around the corner.
Yet, season after season we’re back in the stands, glued to live updates and dreaming of something marginally better than crushing disappointment. Why do we do it to ourselves?
I blame my dad. Sporting allegiances tend to be passed through the generations. That was certainly the case with me. My dad took me to my first West Ham game aged six – a 1-1 draw against Norwich City. His dad had taken him to his first Hammers game and, no doubt, I’ll be doing the same when my son reaches the right age to appreciate the beautiful game (No, Big Sam probably won’t be in charge in five years time.)
Of course, not everyone follows the family tradition – in talent, team or pastime– but it’s likely you’ll have picked up your love of sport from your mum or dad. Judy Murray, whose dad was a professional footballer, won 64 Scottish tennis titles and had the same drive when it came to her sons picking up rackets. There were two books about Andy in the Illustrated Book of the Year section in the British Sports Book awards on the back of his 2013 Wimbledon triumph.
Ronan O’Gara, whose autobiography was shortlisted for the Rugby Book of the Year 2014, can attribute at least some of his drive in becoming Ireland’s highest ever points scorer to his dad Fergal O’Gara, a former winger for the old UCG Club in Connacht.
David Beckham’s illustrated book also made it onto the shortlist at the awards. What’s the betting at least one of his sons features in sports awards ceremonies twenty years down the line (his eldest boy Brooklyn has already been training with the likes of Fulham).
You get the picture. But a mega-star or sports-mad parent is not necessarily a dream ticket to a successful athlete for a son or daughter. Quite the opposite in fact. Enough touchline mums and dads have tried too hard and failed emphatically to prove that statement true. But every parent can, and should, pass on their passion for sport.
In the same way parents who read to their children regularly are more likely to nurture an appreciation in books, getting youngsters interested in sport can only be a good thing, not only for their development, but in developing a shared interest with you.
I’ve never thanked my dad for sharing his love of boxing, athletics, football et al, and he’s never thanked me for following his lead. Perhaps it’s just taken as red, but maybe it’s unappreciated. In any case, with father’s day just around the corner, how about buying him a sports book to share your love of sport.
Sport-mad Dom Bowers is a News Editor at a local newspaper group and is an avid spectator of as many sports as he can manage. He plans to take his 7-month old son to a West Ham game as soon as he can.