Just as the notion that “video killed the radio star” is often posed in a humorous tone but with dark overtones of the plight of the modern music industry, did the internet destroy participation in healthy sporting activities? Furthermore did it change the realm of sport coach with the good intentions of bettering the lives of its community to proverbial snake oil salesmen selling poor grade products with glistening packaging to entice the public not accustomed to “watching rather than doing”?
The answer to both questions are uncomfortable to admit and a sad commentary but very likely a resounding “yes”.
The internet and technological improvements for all its wonderful opportunity, if I may borrow upon Mr. Friedman’s opus, is one of “bright promises, dismal performance”. Quite naturally many advancements have profoundly improved our lives but for all the opportunity of “connectivity” the majority live highly sedentary lives and the term “neighbourhood” can only used casually as true community, not one used to cleverly promote a service or product, is sparing.
This is seen quite easily within sporting and exercise front where the business aspect, the clever affiliate programs that fuel endless levels of endorsements, back room agreements to “log roll” and many tactical approaches to create the tsunami of emotional contagion, have played a role in this culture of “watching not doing”.
Healthy participation in sport does not require a membership to a gymnasium nor the purchase of training services, might I add “overpriced” fees, from an individual whose claim of being a “professional” is paying for a weekend certification and the ability to edit an exercise video rife with dub-step soundtrack, the endless “bro’s” slapping and bumping fists. This is the sad reality of the modern exercise world as for all the clever parlour tricks of various degrees of ability, mind you all firmly confined to the walls of a gymnasium, they have lost the value of a true coach and mentor.
There are many great exercise and sport coaches today and the overwhelming majority do significantly more than promote their services and instead teach a better way of life. Exercise and sport was once and avenue to said “better way” but it is not so clear cut anymore. The return route is however much simpler than you may think.
Healthy participation in sport does require something rather simple; participate.
Don’t fret of going to dance class, go dancing. Do worry about driving the gym for cycling class, get on your bike and ride around our community. Kick, catch, throw a ball with friends new and old and stop fretting over “what you do in a gym” and instead participate.
Life comes around but once, live it at full throttle.
Tabled for discussion: Renegade London Sporting Club