So what had happened to me? How had I gone from the cossetted glamour of Our Price radio to the snarling, balls-out toughness of sports reporting? Well, I’d always been a keen sports fan. It seemed to me that the world of sport – with its reliance on stats, facts, trivia and rules – provided modern man with certainty and structure. Just as a well-fitting jockstrap cups the cock and balls of a sportsman, so sport cradled me. You know where you are with sport. It’s good.Alan Partridge there, from his second volume of autobiography, I, Partridge: We Need to Talk About Alan.
And it’s all so logical. Watch a play by Shakespeare or go to a modern art gallery, and no one has the faintest idea what the hell is going on.
Take Shakespeare. Not a play goes by without one character whispering something about another character that is clearly audible to that character. By virtue of the fact it has to be loud enough for the audience to hear it, it’s inconceivable that it can’t also be heard by the character in question. It’s such an established technique in Shakespeare’s canon people just think no one will notice. Well I’ve got news for you – this guy did.
Sport, on the other hand, is straightforward. In badminton, if you win a rally, you get one point. In volleyball, if you win a rally, you get one point. In tennis, if you win a rally, you get 15 points for the first or second rallies you’ve won in that game, or 10 for the third, with an indeterminate amount assigned to the fourth rally other than the knowledge that the game is won, providing one player is two 10-point (or 15-point) segments clear of his opponent. It’s clear and simple.
For other views on what sport is and what you get out of it, you should read this by Richard Whittall and this by Terry Duffelen. You could even read this by me. If you want. You don't have to, like. Just, it's there, is all I'm saying.