Using Sport As As Escapism

From an early age I’ve loved sport, whether it was watching on tv or playing I’ve loved it. From football, Hurling and Gaelic Football, table tennis, swimming, golf, snooker the list goes on, ive tried them all.  As I have got older my habits have slowly moved from playing to watching sport on tv. I still play the odd round of golf and have a 5-a-side kick-about on a Sunday morning. I use sport as an escapism. I suffer badly with anxiety and at times have the odd bout of depression. My heads is continuously churning out thought after thought and I find it difficult to switch off.

The main sports I watch these days are snooker and football. I’ll still watch some NFL, GAA or golf but watching Ronnie O Sullivan glide around a 12×6 foot snooker table like nobody else in the history of the sport is pure heaven for me. When he loses I get anxious. When he wins I feel relief, it shouldn’t matter that much to me, he’s a guy I don’t know personally and it really shouldn’t affect my life at all. But in my head it matters.

My other main love is of course Manchester United. Like most other Utd fans of my age group we have been brought up watching a winning juggernaut. Gone are the days i would feel distraught when Utd didn’t win a Champions League semi final or god forbid they finished second in the Premier League. I mentioned in a previous blog you get used to having a winning feeling and when it stops you crave it even more. I recently listened to an interview with Stephen Hendry were he explained why he retired so early. He said he couldn’t enjoy it anymore because playing without winning just wasn’t enough.

I still make sure I watch nearly every Utd game. My wife now accepts it. She didn’t understand it at first. But, over time she has come to realise I need time to switch off and have two hours to myself. Even though I find myself Tweeting during a game expressing my frustrations or excitement at that I’m seeing. So maybe I’m not totally switching off. However, I do believe everyone needs an outlet. Mine is sitting on the sofa and forgetting the pressures of daily life.

The frustrations of watching my favourite sports most certainly do not even come close to the joy and elation I have felt watching the likes of Utd winning a treble in 99 or Tiger Woods stunning comeback last year or the countless genius moments Ronnie has produced on green baize.

I am flawed, most are. And I am grateful for having a very understanding wife, especially when the weekend arrives and my schedule resolves around what time the football is on. My goal is to be more flexible with my shedule but I will continue so use sport as an escapism and I make no apology for that.

By: Keith Russell @Keith_Russell