Sporting Life

To watch sport is to receive a surprise, an education, a gift

Watching sport has occasionally made me believe in God for how else does one explain the divine Messi? It has made me exclaim, sigh, bang my desk, hold my head and send my blood pressure to places it should not go. If you write on sport for a living, watching is a complicated pleasure. You can't watch it merely as entertainment, for you are in constant search of a story. If there's no goal after 89 minutes, pens nervously tap.

Overworked athletes complain, but rarely overstretched watchers. Even in a year like this when the Olympics, the Paralympics, the European football championship, the Ryder Cup, four tennis Slams and four golf Majors will, at a conservative estimate, involve 336 watching hours for me. Think of it as 14 entire days of sport while scribbling through a minor forest of notebooks. Part of greatness is the urge to record it.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2020, with the headline 'To watch sport is to receive a surprise, an education, a gift'. Print Edition | Subscribe