August 25th, 2004


Picked last

Wandering around articles on sports in schools as a result of nja's latest post, I came across yet another article that made me annoyed.

From that article:
"More than half of all teenagers agreed that young people are fat, lazy and addicted to computer games, but blame school and councils for failing to give them opportunities to exercise. [...] 'I don't think it's an issue of kids being lazier than children before us,' said Alexandra, 16, at a north London Youth Debate panel. 'Sport isn't accessible enough. There aren't enough proper facilities for us.'"
No, Alexandra, I think you are being lazy. I think you want these "opportunities" and "facilities" handed to you on a plate, delivered to your door. Then, when you don't get them, you can blame somebody else for the fact that you won't get off your lazy arse and do something.

As a teenager, I was fat, lazy and addicted to computer games. So whose fault was that? The school's? Hardly, with two or three compulsory games lessons a week and plenty of sports societies at lunchtimes and after school which I could have attended if I'd cared. The council's? Well, there was a public swimming pool, there was a playing field in the village (where people often organised football games), there was (I believe) a village cricket team, and there were tennis courts (though you had to get the key from somebody so it never seemed worth it when you could just have a knockabout against a wall or on the playing-field). There were several parks where I could have jogged if the urge had ever so taken me. (I've really no idea what other public sports facilities there were; I never made an effort to find out.) Sometimes, in rare energetic moments, I could be persuaded to cycle around the playing fields, or rollerskate on the carpark, or play with a frisbee.

Now, yes, I know, not all councils and not all schools make such good provision for sports. It's possible that Alexandra's school has no games lessons, no field of any kind, rules against kicking a ball around at lunchtime, or even running, and that there are no public sports facilities or even public parks in the North London area.

It's possible.

But how much more likely is it that it's just so much easier to blame your school, blame the council, the government, anything, anything except your own sweet self?

Of course, in standard journalistic rants it's considered the done thing to stop there, with the question. Having sneered and raised people's awareness and hackles, one has discharged one's moral duty. But this isn't a newspaper. I'm still here when the article's finished. So what's the answer? How can we change people, change the prevalent attitudes of our times, change the world?

Perhaps the facilities for changing the world just aren't accessible enough. Nobody's providing me with a means to change the world. Nobody's providing me with the answers. I'm not lazy; the system is to blame. It's not my fault, not my fault, not my fault.

Word on the street

To the dippy lady in the pink skirt and implausible shoes: did you see the red light? Do you think it doesn't apply to cyclists? Do you think you're just too good for the highway code? Or do you just not want to let your pink flowery slippers touch the nasty dirty road?

To the moron in the gigantic silver dickmobile: do you really have to park right across the pavement outside Sainsburys just so that your pikey friend doesn't have to walk more than 2 metres for her fags? And, when a passer-by who is walking with her bike comments that it's a pavement, not a parking space, do you really think that slamming on the brakes, leaning out of the window and incoherently bellowing "yeah it's not fucking pushbikes on the pavement is it?" is helping your case? (Two fingers don't make a right.)

And to the people who think that walking backwards into the road to take a photo is a sensible thing to do: WHAT FUCKING PLANET ARE YOU ON?