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When I was younger my mum would put me in every club, team and sport going. If you ever needed me, you could find me at the local community centre doing karate, tae kwon do, cubs, scouts, then there was the cricket, the ice skating, the football teams and the rugby teams. I also dabbled in a little boxing, which for a geeky skinny kid with glasses was just not the sport.
I never stuck at any of the sports for more than a few months but one can only imagine what kind of man I would have been if I did. A figure skating, karate, championship tae kwon do boxer who loved camping, helping old men cross the road, and could tie a good knot, one would assume.
I’d always have the same problem when competing though; anxiety. The anticipation and the suspense was enormous. The Golden Gate bridge has rule over me, I couldn’t handle it. The pressure. I would genuinely be crippled by it, and at that time, I didn’t know what it was so I’d make all manner of excuses not to take part. I’d always forget my kit, or turn up late. Anything to avoid playing or competing.
OK, so I wasn’t the model athlete. Turns out I’m not a great fan either, the anxiety surrounding sports is just too overwhelming, and I don’t say that lightly. It is a genuine affliction. I’ve stopped watching almost all sports, unless it is entirely neutral and I don’t have an opinion either way. Given my previously massive interest in sports, that pretty much only leaves me with destruction derby and curling*.
As far as negative effects of mental health go, not watching sport is pretty low down the list of ailments. It places somewhere between going slightly silent for brief moments during the day and wearing the same underwear two days running.
It was however, the reason for my late post tonight. I was crippled with anxiety for about 2 hours as Anthony Joshua beat Wladimir Klitschko in the game of boxing. I wasn’t actually watching the fight, obviously, but just knowing it was on resigned me to some deep breathing, Clair De Lune*, and a lie on the couch.
I should also point out that the result doesn’t affect my mood or my mental health, it is the suspense or the anticipation or the something, that really gets me. Once I know the result, I will watch anything, although that does not include the U.S Presidential Election news coverage.
The solutions are not presenting themselves anymore, I’ve stopped playing sport and I have stopped watching sport, but anxiety still follows me around like Snowy the dog. The only option left is to bunker myself in like John Goodman in Cloverfield Lane, cut the internet and phone lines, and just hope for the best. Until I find some ants who look like they might be in a race… you can do it little buddy!
*If you’re wondering Canada won the gold at this years world championships in Beijing.
*It is my calming song.