The travel business and the sporting life


I recently came across this quote by an unknown source: Sports theoretically based on luck as well as skill and judgement defeat commentators, competitors and fans alike.

That got me thinking about the various sporting events I have attended over the years.
Now I do know that it has nothing to do with my gender, for many women enjoy the sport, but I have never understood cricket. I am sure it has to do with my coming from a country, which never had the ‘privilege’ of learning this noble game from the English... and subsequently, as I understand it, proceeding to beating them at it.
Over the years, being married to an Englishman, I have learned not to ask silly questions, when having to accompany him to watch cricket. However, I will never be able to fathom how on earth one can become enthusiastic about a game lasting five days! But I have finally understood the meaning of LBW, though chinaman googly and reverse swing will always be excluded from my vocabulary.
I was watching my better half have what appeared to be a minor stroke as the Australian scoreboard read 200 something for one, when I suddenly realised what a sheltered sporting life I have led.
Basketball, netball, tennis and soccer I grasp quite well. I actually enjoy soccer, and Sir recently took me to a match in the new Emirates Stadium in London. Or perhaps the delicious cuisine in the private box had something to do with my overall enjoyment!
The soccer match was eliciting, though I cannot recall the name of the opposing team, but I thought Thierry Henry played brilliantly.
Compare that understanding to a match in the huge Melbourne Stadium of Collingwood Aussie Rules Football, where I watched a team of I think 15 players joined by all kinds of people running on to the pitch during the match –
messengers, first aid personnel plus referees – all milling about in these large, oval shaped grounds. Now this was totally confusing and I am convinced, one has to be an Australian to really understand this strange spectacle.
In Dubai, I go along to watch a day or two of the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament each year, and it is not too difficult to understand that the winner is the one who uses the fewest strokes to get the little white ball in the final hole.
Tennis is a favourite sport of mine and the recent Dubai Tennis Open championships attracted many world famous players from the Top 10 of the men's and women's game. Though I have to admit that I miss the graceful strokes and manners of yesteryear prior to the current power game with the grunts getting louder and louder – which I find particularly with the ladies quite unfeminine.
It is peculiar how you can become acquainted with the sports associated with the countries in which you live. For example, when we lived in Sweden, we started supporting the Swedish Ice Hockey team and celebrating with our neighbours, when the Swedes beat Russia, USA or the Czechs in championship matches. It is a very cold experience to attend a live match, but there was also plenty of ice hockey on TV, so we could watch from the comfort of our centrally-heated lounge.
In the Gulf, horse racing is much to the fore despite the lack of gambling facilities. I enjoy watching these beautiful, intelligent animals parade through the paddock on the way to the races. They stride proudly past us as if aware how much they have cost their owners. I think the horses should be given the prizes and not the jockeys and owners. But I also love horse racing, because it lets me wear some great hats. I love hats, though trying to carry them with me on aircraft can sometimes be problematic.
When it comes to travel and sports, you only have to stand at an airport baggage carousel to see the kind of activities that encourage people to travel – a bagful of golf clubs, pairs of skis, surfboards or cricket bags.
Sports have become part and parcel of the travel industry – teams and fans circling the globe to participate in national regional or Olympic competitions. It is imperative for travel agents to know the locations of the best ski resorts, the most outstanding golf championship courses, the most sought-after surfing destinations... as well as being able to book aircraft seats.

Speaking Out by Jonna Simon