Something to Declare
COMEDIAN AND TRAVEL CHANNEL PRESENTER DANNY ROBINS ON BEACH GAMES
FOOTBALL MAY BE “THE BEAUTIFUL GAME”, horse racing may be “the sport of kings” but, in my opinion, if you want a pursuit that truly embodies nobility, grace and sheer blooming fun, there can be only one option: Swingball.
Yes, when I’m on holiday, there’s nothing I like more than standing on a beach using a rubbish bat to repeatedly whack a tennis ball tied to a post. Usually until it becomes very tangled. It’s so… pure. One person, one bat, one ball, repeated thudding noises – and all of your family asking you to stop because it’s really annoying.
OK, I have a confession to make – I’m a beach fidgeter. I’m that annoying friend who as soon as you’ve got settled with your book, wants you to get up and play Frisbee. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who see sand and want to lie on it, chillaxing, and those who see it and want to run around like a hyperactive toddler tanked up on fizzy drinks. I’m in the second camp. Football, boules, cricket, competitive sand castle building, counting seagulls – you wanna play? I’m in.
And what about that moment when you realise that your beach games are actually being encouraged by the authorities – when you find a volleyball net? I love beach volley. It always amuses me that it is officially in the Olympics. It seems less a sport and more a chance to ogle people in swimming costumes. Or even without costumes. For some reason volleyball nets seem to be most often found on nudist beaches. I can’t think why. It’s the only Olympic event where you have to delete your internet history after looking it up.
Once, on a holiday in France, I actually invented my own sport – Water Rugby. The rules were simple: you had to get a ball from one side of the swimming pool to the other and your opponent (my wife) had to stop you. I have never met anybody as naturally competitive as my wife. She’s so competitive that, when we got married, she raced me down the aisle. Water Rugby was terrifying – what started as good-natured splashing quickly started to resemble the final battle scene from The Lord of the Rings. I lasted about 10 minutes then retired with several bruises and water in my ears.
Swingball is much safer. If you haven’t tried it, you really must. One day, I hope to open a special club for fellow devotees of the sport. We could call ourselves Swingers. I’ll just look that up on the internet to see if the name has already been taken. Oh, hang on… crikey… it seems to be something to do with beach volleyball.
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