Edition number 63; dateline 3 May 2013
This sporting life
As reported elsewhere in this issue [see News in Brief], The Leisure Review recently attended a funeral to mark the occasion of the passing of Alan Fennell. Like many funerals, it was a mix of sadness and fond memories but with the sombreness lifting a little after the necessary formality of the funerary rites to allow some space to smile and celebrate a life well-lived and, certainly in Alan’s case, a life well-lived in the dedicated service of the community.
Swimming was Alan’s sport and he was the very model of the sporting stalwart. Sport is, of course, woven into our culture, part of the national DNA that sends countless men and women of all ages out into the night or off into the barely dawned day to play or coach, officiate or administer, support or assess to be part of the sport they love. While politicians preen and marketers meddle, people like Alan, in the manner of Churchill at his most fatigued and insistent, just “keep buggering on”, certain that their cause is just and their contribution essential.
Many of these sporting men and women will be tuned to their governing body’s processes. More will carry on in spite of the decisions and directives sent down from a distant headquarters. A greater number yet will just get on with playing, competing or racing because they love it, having never seen a piece of notepaper bearing the governing body’s crest, never mind reading the memo.
This is what constitutes a sporting culture and this is what culture means: the choices and pursuits of people of all kinds and from all kinds of places, as individuals, as teams, as groups and as communities, with an understanding that we might as well keep on doing the things we like to do, pleasing ourselves, not upsetting anyone else, because we can and because we should. And all of this would still happen without headed notepaper; but none of it would happen without people like Alan Fennell.A celebration? It could never have been anything else.
letter from the editor
The Leisure Review editorial