As you sit on your sofa in weeks to come, perhaps watching the NFL playoffs, the chances are that you’ll have some things to say to the players on the field. They won’t hear you, but your loved ones will. Depending on how withering you are, your loved ones may venture the following suggestion: “Do you think YOU could do better?”
To which, unless you’re delusional, the answer is “no.” Your fantasy team might still be going strong, but if you – if any of us – were on that turf, we’d get pummelled. Metaphorically, literally or both.
It does raise an interesting question, though. As we watch the sport on our TV, it may be worth wondering how we’d do if we played for real. We can’t accurately replicate the NFL without at least 21 friends and a lot of equipment. But we can take up a sport – at a greater or lesser level of difficulty – and see how we’d do.
The Straightforward Way: Golf
Sure, you need something of a budget to take it up. You’ll need to cover golf clubs and a golf club. (The things you hit the ball with, and the place where you go to hit it respectively). Aside from that, you’re ready to go.
You could theoretically play in street clothes, although most clubs have a dress code. So throw in a modest shirt and some long golf shorts. You may not become Davis Love overnight, but this is as close as many of us get to “doing” the sport we watch.
The Ambitious Way: Joining An Amateur Team
No, you may not be able to replicate the action taking place at NFL stadia in the coming weeks. But there are amateur clubs you could join if your high school games are more than a distant memory. It doesn’t need to be football; you could probably play baseball in the clothes you’re sitting there in right now. Or any one of a number of sports you watch on a regular basis.
The Esoteric Way: Take Up A Minority Sport
What Americans call minority sports are often a very big deal in other parts of the world, of course. What we consider huge sports often don’t travel much, participation-wise, beyond the US (apart from basketball). But a minority sport can be a thrill to watch and to play.
Flick through the “other” ESPN channels and see what takes your fancy. If you don’t mind being hit hard and spending a lot of time confused, there’s rugby. If you live somewhere with the right facilities, there are winter sports aplenty. Or you could turn your occasional nights out at the bowling alley into a more committed membership of a league.
Either way, if you ever find yourself yelling at a sportsperson who, believe it or not, is doing their best, step back. No, you probably couldn’t do better. There’s no shame in that. But you might find more enjoyment in a game amongst equals than you expected. Who knows, it might even make it more fun to watch the professionals.