Privileges for the Privileged

Posted: 21.06.08 in Blogging

I read this morning about Lord Coe’s glowing view of the legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games. He says:

I don’t see a generation out there who are lost or are hoodies, I don’t see the world like that, when I go around that’s not what I see.

I’ve taken a rather pessimistic view of sport in Britain, and that the Olympics will do little to change that. In my personal experience, sport is only pushed in the way of those that display early talent. And even then, only those that get personal attention early on have a chance of making it into the big time.

It was a gripe of mine that while at Borden Grammar, that despite years of concerns from teachers about lack of funding and teaching resources for academic studies, funding was made available for and spent on a huge astroturf pitch, a new pavilion (with impressive catering facilities) and an additional all-weather area for other sports. It felt like a betrayal, in part, that I spent time in a school supposedly encouraging academic excellence, which maintained a firm eye on improving the sports facilities. This wouldn’t have irked me so much had there not already been an astroturf pitch in Sittingbourne, and had the school not been surrounded by a park, a leisure centre, further field space and a local workers’ group recreation centre.

But despite this, during my time at university and at school, I’ve found that time is invested in you only if you are a marketable asset. If you can represent the school or university at a competitive level, you are open to all sorts of time investiture, financial investment and perks. I never felt welcome at football or cricket trials at school and was never really encouraged at all during that time. At university, participating in any sort of sporting activity requires money (and a substantial amount): that is, of course, unless you show any sort of finesse. In which case, you are not only treated to free gym membership and use of all the university’s sporting facilities (and I dare say priority in obtaining them), you are also privy to free personal attention, performance monitoring and any advice they can spare (see the CPRS site).

In essence, sport is for those that have the time invested in them. This is the kind of thing Lord Coe sees. If you have been able to build on early talent, you will never see a locked door. If you are like me and want to get into sport, I hear tiddlywinks is quite affordable.

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