Editor’s Letter – The sporting spirit

Enjoying the games this summer doesn’t have to mean taking part; you can be just as involved from the comfort of your own home

Sport is omnipresent on our TV screens this summer with the Open and, of course, the Olympics to come.

For those of us who enjoy the drama of Centre Court, wickets tumbling at Lord’s or the sheer artistry of 11 Spaniards demolishing the opposition in the football European Championship, it has all been a welcome distraction from troubles elsewhere. It’s also a communal activity: mother and I have both enjoyed yelling ‘COME ON!’ at the TV in recent weeks as Murray was vanquished at Wimbledon, England managed a goal against Ukraine.

(In a similar vein, my grandmother always enjoyed shouting at the wrestling in ITV’s World of Sport every Saturday.)

As a participant, some sport inevitably loses its appeal after a certain age. Football with its bone-splitting tackles, is hardly a veterans’ game, as Hunter Davies and his cartilages will testify (p16). Conversely, there are some sports that one can grow into. Golf, for example, fosters the competitive spirit without over-stretching the hamstrings. If you’re a golfing beginner, Deborah Wain has tips from top coaches on p8-9, from buying your first clubs to finding the right coach.

Sport is still an overwhelmingly male world but when it comes to general fitness women are usually better at taking care of their wellbeing than men – hence spas and ‘health resorts’ are female-dominated. We sent Michael Bywater along to Champneys to test whether he could withstand a whole day’s intensive pampering in a beautiful setting surrounded by women (p13). Surprisingly, he took it rather well.