Cyclists going through the village now seem to regard the wearing of garish coloured Lycra as a necessity for riding a bicycle. Cycling is not the only physical activity that seems to require particular attire; judging by the high street stores, sportswear is a big industry.
An acquaintance from former times would have suggested no-one thus dressed could be considered to be participating in sport. He would have asserted that an activity could only be considered a sport if it could be undertaken wearing tweed.
While it was a comment that would always prompt smiles among those hearing it, there was always a suspicion that he was being serious. A young fogey, he delighted in wearing a tweed cap and jacket and corduroy trousers. He dressed as writer P.G. Wodehouse’s character Bertie Wooster might have done if he had been invited to play a round of golf or to join a shoot.
If the wearing of tweed was the criterion for an activity to be considered sporting, then sport was the type of leisure that might be pursued by readers of Country Life magazine. The definition of sport would definitely have included hunting and shooting and fishing. Equestrian activity would be possible for the tweed wearer. Horse racing might demand silks for a professional jockey, how else might the riders have been told apart? However, a country gentleman might have ridden in point-to-point in a tweed sports jacket and a bowler hat.
Among other sports, golf would, of course, have been on the list, and bicycling would have been a possibility; as would have been the racing of motor cars.
Anything demanding the wearing of shorts would have been excluded from his idea of sport. He was persuaded that ski-ing was possible, but insisted that it could not be considered if it meant wearing luridly coloured, skin-tight body suits.
Indoors, snooker would have seemed a natural sporting activity, although he would probably have thought billiards to be a more appropriate activity for the tweed-clad gentleman. He never mentioned darts.
Definitions of sport vary, but if strength, speed and agility are the standards of the athletic skills that are required, how many activities considered to be sporting are really sports?
But if sport is not about speed, strength or agility, what is it about? If darts and snooker are considered to be sport, then is the definition about physical dexterity? Is the potential for wearing tweed the real test?