I first learned about the world through watching sport – World Cups, Olympics, the golf.
The planet always gets a little bit smaller when your country is facing Kazakhstan in the footie.
Or your rugby team tries for the umpteenth time to beat New Zealand.
While the cricketers are ducking out of the way of a West Indian fast bowler or having their blood twisted by a Sri Lankan spinner.
Or your runners are trying to chase down a Kenyan or an Ethiopian.
It, of course, prompts an interest in those countries particularly if you then talk to the fans who have been there.
Or the pre-competition build-up shows you the sites.
International sport follows a calendar as predictable as the sun and moon.
And thank the heavens it does, and we often choose to settle our differences on the field of play rather than on the battlefield.
This weekend on the calendar has been international week in European football where our nations aim to qualify for the European Championships.
And Scotland lose. This time to Russia.
The contact came prior to the match, just as it always does from the Son and Heir.
I guess he still wants to make sure I’ll keep my promise of taking him to a major championship when Scotland qualify.
Of course at 23 he is too young for that ever having been a consideration.
And so I have found my sport where I could find it. Playing football and cricket with the Sri Lankan staff in the Maldives https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/12/atoll-tale-the-maldives/.
Or watching the cricket in Barbados https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/my-kiss-with-rihanna/. Of course, it’s always better when you’ve got a rum in your hands.
Play and pray
I’ve always believed the best way to find out about a country and its people is by going to where the play and pray.
But seeing this is the day that God made for sport and tomorrow is the Sabbath let’s stick with the sport for now.
America has its Big Four, baseball, basketball, ice hockey and American Football and I love to clue in on them when I’m in the good ole’ US of A.
Here I am above in Memphis where the Grizzlies play https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-promised-land-martin-luther-king/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-story-of-the-blues/.
And outside the California Angels baseball park in Anaheim with their most famous local https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/03/stair-wars-3/.
Alas the Angels did not play their part in the bargain by losing to Oakland when I went to see them.
They could have done with this fella, who honed his skills in the Washington Capitals’ stadium https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/home/easy-dc-2/.
Anaheim boasts the team with the best name of all, the Ducks. Though don’t for one minute call him Donald.
He’s Wild Wing, and believe me he has a wild look in is eye. Needed for that sport.
So whatever sport you follow, it’s the taking part, not the winning, that matters.
And if you believe that then you need to get out and watch more sport.
Now I’m away to book my tickets for the World Cup in Qatar in 2022. And I will check out the country beforehand http://www.visitqatar.qa and its airline carrier which I know and recommend http://www.qatarairways.com.
The European Championships… yes, I’ll watch them and follow my second favourite team. The one that is playing England!