Sport – some live and breathe it, others see it as nothing but a distraction from real life.
Whichever side of the spectrum you may sit, there’s no doubt the existence of competition in this form gives entertainment to many.
And the Riverina is not immune to the lure of it – far from it.
We’ve got an impressive sporting alumni who have gone on to great things.
A healthy crowd of diehards (or unhealthy in some peoples’ eyes) braved the wet and barracked for their teams in the Riverina Football Netball League and Football Wagga grand finals on Sunday.
A lot of those supporters would have been keenly watching Wagga product Matt Suckling put his former club Hawthorn, which Temora’s Luke Breust plays in, out of the AFL finals race on Friday night.
And now Temora’s Scott Reardon is the latest to be inducted onto our region’s sporting elite list. His gold-medal performance in the T42 100-metre sprint at the Rio Paralympics was an amazing effort.
And, of course, our region’s rugby sevens heroes Alicia Quirk and Sharni Williams won Olympic gold last month.
It all begs the question – why?
A sports fan will say there’s nothing better than watching a person or a team put blood, sweat and tears into their chosen discipline and achieving success at the highest level – whether that’s Olympic gold or a flag in the local footy comp.
But it’s more than that.
It’s about inspiration. Those who may scoff at admiring meatheads who run around in shorts and say appreciating fine art is a better avenue of appreciation can’t see the forest for the trees – it is fundamentally the same thing. Art and sport are a distraction from the mundane life that most of us live. Both sport and art gives hope.
There’s no doubt watching an against-the-odds performance gives goosebumps – whether it’s on a soccer field or a concert stage.
These performances will hopefully inspire a generation of youngsters to put down the game console controller and pick up an active hobby.
At the very least, let’s hope it keeps our young and impressionable away from the dark corners of society and pointed in the direction of the bright lights of stardom on the sports field.
Isn’t that the reason the government invests in the Olympics/Paralympics?